Oct 15, 2015 - 2:00pm

Yale Study: Hydraulic Fracturing Doesn’t Contaminate Drinking Water

Senior Editor, Digital Content


Hydraulic fracturing site located atop the Marcellus shale rock formation in Pennsylvania.
A hydraulic fracturing site located atop the Marcellus shale rock formation in Pennsylvania.

Environmental activists who oppose hydraulic fracturing—and the oil and natural gas it produces—have more science to ignore. The latest study is in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A team, led by a Yale University researcher, looked at 64 natural gas wells in Pennsylvania three to five years after drilling and found:

There was no evidence of association with deeper brines or long-range migration of these compounds to the shallow aquifers.

In laymen’s terms, the act of drilling thousands of feet below the surface (far below drinking water supplies) and hydraulically fracturing natural gas wells does not contaminate drinking water.

Another way of putting it is: Josh Fox doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Add this study to the growing list of research confirming that hydraulic fracturing is a safe way to develop energy:

It's no wonder that Secretary of Energy (and physicist) Ernest Moniz said, “To my knowledge, I still have not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater.” 

This reminds us that states are successfully regulating hydraulic fracturing. Duplicative federal regulations aren’t needed. Also, states and local governments should rethink their bans on the technology.

When done properly hydraulic fracturing produces abundant energy that powers the American economy, creates jobs, and saves consumers money.


Annual household savings from shale energy.
Source: Harvard Business Review and the Boston Consulting Group.

[H/t Ron Bailey at Reason.com.]

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.