Friday, March 19, 2010

EPA launches Hydraulic Fracturing Study

A $1.9 million study on hydraulic fracturing is being launched by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) . The last time the EPA looked at hydraulic fracturing was in 2004. That study has come under scrutiny because a former EPA scientist and whistle blower Weston Wilson said it was flawed. We posted the following info previously on our blog about the 2004 hydraulic fracturing study.

The EPA gave hydraulic fracturing its stamp of approval in a 2004 report [1], but that study has been widely criticized as politically-motivated and scientifically unsound. After the report was released, veteran EPA scientist Weston Wilson wrote a letter [2] to Colorado representatives saying that "based on available science and literature, EPA’s conclusions are unsupportable." He also wrote that five out seven members of a panel that reviewed the findings had conflicts of interest and "may benefit from EPA’s decision not to conduct further investigation or impose regulatory conditions."

In a Wall Street Journal article, The American Petroleum Institute released this statement.

The American Petroleum Institute said in a statement, "We expect the study to confirm what 60 years of experience and investigation have already demonstrated: that hydraulic fracturing is a safe and well understood technology for producing oil and natural gas."

But in a video we posted about hydraulic fracturing, Lee Fuller, VP of the Independent Petroleum Association of America admits that even with the best practices that contamination may occur. He said the cement casing will deteriorate over time, wells will need to be re-worked periodically and even when it done the cement may be flawed and there may still be failures.

The EPA will be looking into the effects of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater, surface water, human health and the environment. The study is expected to be completed by 2012. Click here to read the ABC News article.

No comments: