Study: Fracking no threat to groundwater
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in shale formations "has no direct connection" to groundwater contamination, a study released Thursday by the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin concludes. The Houston Chronicle reports the study finds that many problems attributed to hydraulic fracturing "are related to processes common to all oil and gas drilling operations," such as drilling pipe inadequately cased in concrete. Many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale drilling and not from hydraulic fracturing, Charles "Chip" Groat, an Energy Institute associate director who led the project, says in a statement. "These problems are not unique to hydraulic fracturing," says Groat, who is also president of the newly formed Water Institute of the Gulf. In hydraulic fracturing, a mix of water, sand and chemicals are pumped into a well under high pressure to help release natural gas and oil from shale rock. The study is being hailed by the energy industry, which has long maintained there's no direct link between hydraulic fracturing and contamination of groundwater. But industry critics say the study should be vetted by independent experts. And critics were heartened that the study noted some aspects of drilling can lead to groundwater contamination. Read the full story here.
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