Report Clears Fracking and Debunks Activist Claims

There is no evidence that fracking contaminated groundwater in Pavillion, Wyo., according to a landmark report released by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ). From the DEQ fact sheet: “Evidence does not indicate that hydraulic fracturing fluids have risen to shallow depths utilized by water-supply wells. Also, based on an evaluation of hydraulic fracturing history, and methods used in the Pavillion Gas Field, it is unlikely that hydraulic fracturing has caused any impacts to the water-supply wells.” 

The report is a devastating blow for the national environmental activist campaign against fracking, which has made Pavillion a key talking point in its effort to shut down oil and gas development across the country. For years, anti-fracking activists have misrepresented and exaggerated the EPA’s initial conclusions to support their calls for a nationwide fracking ban. They have also ignored serious criticisms of the EPA’s work by state environmental regulators and even other federal agencies, namely the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Land Management, in their desperate attempt to build a case for banning fracking.

Those criticisms from state and federal officials have focused on a pair of water-quality monitoring wells, drilled by the EPA, which were poorly constructed and likely introduced the very contaminants that some have tried to blame on fracking. Eventually, under the weight of these criticisms, the EPA backed down.

The agency never submitted its draft report, released in late 2011, for peer review and handed the Pavillion case back to state regulators. Later, the EPA completed a much larger nationwide study on hydraulic fracturing. Contrary to the claims of “ban fracking” activists, the EPA’s five-year study found no “widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources.” Today’s announcement from the WDEQ doesn’t just close the case on Pavillion – it’s a knock-out blow for the “ban fracking” agenda. 

With the Pavillion investigation complete, WDEQ officials have also asked the EPA to plug and abandon those two faulty monitoring wells citing the “potential hazard they pose.”

Also from the fact sheet: “Recommend that the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) plug and abandon the two monitoring wells constructed in 2010 in accordance with Wyoming Water Quality Rules and Regulations Chapter 26, due to the potential hazard they pose in relation to groundwater supplies and physical safety.”

Read the full report from Energy Insider HERE.

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