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Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
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Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Monday, December 12, 2011

EPA Links Fracking To Water Contamination

John Fenton, a farmer who lives near Pavillion in central Wyoming, near a tank used in natural gas extraction, in background. Fenton and some of his neighbors blame hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," for fouling their well water. (AP)

On the front lines of the controversy over hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has, for the first time, confirmed what critics of the natural gas drilling practice have long suspected: fracking can contaminate drinking water supplies.

The news comes after the EPA conducted extensive testing of drinking water wells in central Wyoming where fracking, or injecting chemically-treated water into underground rock formations to push natural gas to the surface, has been widespread.

The EPA report is likely to put increased pressure on federal and state governments to move more quickly to regulate the industry.

Guest:

  • Abrahm Lustgarten, reporter for the non-profit, non-partisan investigative journalism site Pro Publica

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