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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

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Anonymous

    I don’t know about the rest of you. I can do without natural gas, but I need clean, non-carcinogenic water.

    How can sanity compete with these money-grubbers?

  • David C

    Dumb question;  Is the hydro-carbon fluid additive the only way to make this work?
    Certainly the most bang for the buck or they wouldnt be doing it.  I have operated a Superfund landfill gas flare as site manager and am a little familiar. Buried garbage is porous so responds to slight surface vacuum. What about using a string of spaced explosives to frack the deep end of drill string? Generate super high pressure. Still use sand (and water?)  to do the rest.  Gas only ignites between 5-15% concentration, so wont ignite underground. Or use cold explosives for added safety.   In other words give up some yield and $ and still make it work.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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