U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Hydraulic Fracturing Study (2010-2012)
Publication Type:Web Article
Source:U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2010)
Hydraulic fracturing is the injection of fluid under pressure to facilitate the production of oil and natural gas.
This page explains the process of hydraulic fracturing, how hydraulic fracturing is regulated, and EPA’s national 2010-2012 study on hydraulic fracturing of coalbed methane.
Weston Wilson Whistle Blower Letter
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2002 Study was crticized by EPA Whistle Blower Weston Wilson in this letter written to Senators Allard and Campbell and Representative DeGette. Denver, Colorado. October 8th, 2004.
See also the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
U.S. EPA, 2002. Study to Evaluate the Impacts to the U.S. Drinking Water Supply (USDWs) by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs.
The study of coalbed methane (CBM) wells involved interviews with approximately 50 state and local government agency staff members, communications with about 40 citizens who were concerned that CBM production had adversely affected their drinking water wells, and searches for confirmed incidents of drinking water well contamination.
EPA published a draft report in August 2002, requested public comment, and incorporated changes as appropriate in Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs; National Study Final Report (2004)
The EPA's guidance led Congress to pass the 2005 Energy Policy Act that included the "Halliburton Loophole" of 2005. Exemption to EPA regulations for safe drinking water was granted for fracking in 2005.
"EPA has preliminarily found that the potential threats to public health posed by hydraulic fracturing of coalbed methane wells appear to be small and do not justify additional study. " (2002).
EPA's Current Hydraulic Fracturing Study (2010-2012)
In its Fiscal Year 2010 budget report, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriation Conference Committee identified the need for a focused study of this topic. EPA agrees with Congress that there are serious concerns from citizens and their representatives about hydraulic fracturing’s potential impact on drinking water, human health and the environment, which demands further study.
More information on EPA's Hydraulic Fracturing Research Study.
Hydraulic Fracturing Research Study PDF (2pp, 343k)
EPA Update. November 9-10 2010
On November 9, 2010, EPA announced that eight out of the nine hydraulic fracturing companies that received voluntary information requests in September agreed to submit timely and complete information to help the Agency conduct its study on hydraulic fracturing. However, the ninth company, Halliburton, has failed to provide EPA the information necessary to move forward with this important study. As a result, and as part of EPA's effort to move forward as quickly as possible, today EPA issued a subpoena to the company requiring submission of the requested information that has yet to be provided.
See: Letter sent by EPA to Halliburton PDF (2pp, 516K).
See: The subpoena sent by EPA to Halliburton PDF (11pp, 3.5M).
See: Birth of EPA
Public Comments for Peer Review Panel Needed by November 22, 2010
On September 10, 2010, the Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office posted a List of eighty-five Nominated Candidates for a Panel under the auspices of the SAB that will provide independent expert advice on EPA’s draft Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan to investigate the potential public health and environmental protection research issues that may be associated with hydraulic fracturing. This List of Candidates is posted on the SAB Web Site. Public comments on this List of Candidates were received by October 1, 2010.
See: Molly Ivins (2003). Bushwhacked : Life in George W. Bush's America