Dec 14, 2016 - 9:15am

EPA Confirms that Source of America’s Energy Boom Doesn’t Threaten Drinking Water


Senior Editor, Digital Content

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An oil jack near Corpus Christi, Texas.

You may see “Keep it in the ground” folks and other anti-energy activists pounce on a new EPA report in an attempt to stop fracking.

But the truth is fracking--using water, sand, and a small amount of chemicals to break up shale rock thousands of feet below the surface to free oil and natural gas—isn’t a threat to drinking water.

From Energy In Depth:

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final results of its long awaited groundwater study. While the agency made some wording changes to its previous topline finding, the data have not changed. This study took five years to complete, and in that time EPA found nothing to suggest that fracking is a serious risk to groundwater. Because of this, the report only reinforces what EPA found previously – that “hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources.”

If fracking were a major threat to drinking water supplies, the data gathered by EPA would show it – but they don’t. If fracking were contaminating water on a widespread level, the evidence would also have been found in the dozens and dozens of peer-reviewed studies that have been conducted over the past decade. So perhaps contrary to its intention, EPA’s study officially closes the book on the environmental activists’ deliberate misinformation campaign.

On a press call,  EPA official acknowledged that “number of identified cases of drinking water contamination is small.” Compare that to the two million wells that have been fracked over decades.

Think of it like airplanes. Thousands of times a day, they take off and land with rarely any mishaps. Based on that, we call flying, “safe.” The same logic applies to fracking.


Like any industrial process, fracking has to be done properly to be safe. But by following industry best practices and upholding the multitude of regulations state agencies place on it, fracking is done safely.

This has been show in many instances where researchers closely studied the practice:

The idea that fracking can cause someone’s water to become flammable is a fraud.

Here’s some more truth: Fracking has transformed the geopolitical energy landscape. The shale boom launched an American energy renaissance, has saved families money, and transformed the U.S. into an important exporter in world energy markets.

And as science shows, it’s being done safely.

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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.