The EPA fracking report offered no clear, final results as the six-years long study is still suffering from a number of data gaps and uncertainties.
Almost six years ago, the EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency took to analyzing fracking. Fracking or hydraulic fracturing in its official name is a somewhat controversial technique.
Its technology is based on a well stimulation. It works by fracturing the rock surface with the help of pressurized liquid.
The process received its more commonly used term as it involves “fracking fluid”. Made primarily out of water, it also contains sand and other suspended proppants. Injected at a high pressure into a wellbore, it helps create cracks.
Natural gasses, brine, and petroleum are believed to flow more easily through such created deep-rock formation cracks.
Almost 6 years and an over $29 million investment later, the EPA is still uncertain about the technique. Its new fracking report was released earlier this week, on Tuesday.
This new report does admit that such techniques may lead to some potential drinking water risks. However, due to a lack of necessary data, the risk factor has yet to be calculated.
EPA reported to be lacking the information that would necessarily preclude such a definitive statement. The authority went to more clearly explain in the statement released with the fracking report.
According to EPA, the available data still holds uncertainties. It also has some quite significant gaps. Because of these factors, more specific results were quite hard to determine.
As such, the potential national frequency impact of the technique on drinking water sources was impossible to calculate or even estimate.
It was also insufficient so as to completely characterize the most probable severity of such a potential impact.
Previous EPA fracking report drafts were used by both industry representatives and ecologist groups. The former stated that the technique is safe and should not cause concerns.
Environmentalists were more focused on the cases in which the fracking technique reportedly had repercussions.
Nonetheless, the final report was noticed to have removed a finding from a previous such draft. This finding indicated that the technique had not caused systematic or widespread drinking water harms.
Both environmentalist and industry claims circle around the fracking’s possible pollution repercussions. The technique has been accused of potentially being the cause of groundwater contaminations. It was also vehiculated in increased air pollution claims. It was also potentially linked to earthquakes.
Tom Burke, the EPA science adviser and deputy assistant administrator, offered some explanations. Burke stated that the “widespread, systematic” phrase was removed on a good basis.
He explains that the said data gaps could not exactly quantify the potential fracking impacts. As such, they could hardly be called widespread.
His clarifications may have been spurred on by the mixed fracking report reactions. Whilst some factions cheered the report, others contested it.
Environmentalists are reportedly considering it a new proof to their contamination claims. Industry groups, for their part, pointed out the removal of the aforementioned phrase.
At the same time, other factions from both opposing groups had a more neutral approach. They just went on and pointed out the EPA’s solely data backed approach.
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