How fracking is harmful
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WHAT GOES WRONG : AN OVERVIEW
According to COGCC, there were 17,000 inspections in 2010 by 15 inspectors located throughout the state . Most inspections are unannounced. A new report by Earthworks explains how inadequate these inspections are. Enforcement Report COGCC
In Colorado, wells can be a mile or two deep -- far below drinking water aquifers . So w hat goes wrong?
The first four problems (faulty cement jobs, spills , releases and leaks ) are documented. The oil and gas industry may dismiss their severity, but can't deny they happen.
Whether fractures actually reach aquifers is hotly contested. People in the oil and gas industry regularly say , “There has never been a proven case of water contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing.” This can be misleading if you don't understand that t he industry narrowly defines fracking as the moment underground fractures are split — and not the entire drilling process.
However, i n December 2011, the EPA linked contaminated water in Wyoming to fracking . Fracking fluid chemicals, such as benzene in concentrations well above standards in the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act , and high levels of methane were found in two monitoring wells in the aquifer.
T her e are also cases of groundwater contamination where no one can explain what happened.
Fracking hasn't been fully investigated by the EPA. The ir 2004 study, which concluded that the process of hydraulic fracturing did n' t pose a threat to drinking water, has been widely criticized, partially because the agency didn't conduct any water tests .
"The use of hydraulic fracturing has significantly increased well beyond the scope of the 2004 study," said EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones. Now horizontal drilling can reach up to a mile and five times more chemical-laden fluids are used.
In March 2010 the EPA began a new study of fracking, so more revelations are expected . Preliminary reports are due December 2012.
E.P.A. Links Tainted Water in Wyoming to Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas
EPA Releases Draft Findings of Pavillion, Wyoming Ground Water Investigation for Public Comment and Independent Scientific Review
EPA Launches National Study of Hydraulic Fracturing
State regulator admits, but not to Congress, that gas production led to water contamination in Colorado
Does the natural gas industry need a new messenger?