Friday, January 08, 2016

EPA scientists criticize agency report that says fracking poses no widespread damage to water

The Environmental Protection Agency's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) on Thursday released a peer review criticizing the agency's June report that said no evidence exists showing that hydraulic fracturing causes widespread damage to drinking water supplies, Susan Phillips and Jon Hurdle report for StateImpact. "The advisory board raised concerns about 'clarity and adequacy of support for several major findings.'"

The review said EPA science advisor Thomas A. Burke's remarks that “based upon available scientific information, we found that hydraulic fracturing activities in the United States are carried out in a way that has not led to widespread systemic impacts on drinking water sources" are "ambiguous and inconsistent with 'the uncertainties and data limitations' detailed within the EPA’s fracking report," Phillips and Hurdle write. SAB recommends EPA "rewrite the report to include explanations of those limitations."

SAB "points out that local impacts can be 'severe' and the agency should do a better job explaining to the general public gaps in the data as well as the status of the investigations in high profile places like Dimock, as well as Pavilion, Wyoming and Parker County, Texas," Phillips writes. EPA press secretary Melissa Harrison told reporters: ”We will use the comments from the SAB, along with the comments from members of the public, to evaluate how to augment and revise the draft assessment." A final report is expected sometime this year. (Read more)

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