EPA’s own Science Advisory Board calls to re-evaluate fracking impacts

Scientist examining water pollution
Source: DollarPhotoClub

In June 2015, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency famously announced that fracking does not lead to “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.” Now the agency’s own Science Advisory Board has called for a revision of the study and its conclusion.

“The statement is ambiguous and requires clarification and additional explanation,” the board wrote in a letter sent to Administrator Gina McCarthy.

The board, which consists of advisers representing several universities, as well as the American Cancer Society and the global oil giant Exxon Mobil, wish the EPA to revisit and re-examine the areas where fracking “activities are perceived by many members of the public to have caused significant local impacts to drinking water resources.” This would potentially have the EPA re-evluate claims of water contamination in Dimock, Pa., Pavillion, Wyo., and Parker County, Texas.

The board would also like the EPA to take another look at the type of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and the industry’s claims that these chemicals are by and large benign. Countering this very claim, Wheeling Jesuit University biology professor Ben Stout believes that with this form of fracturing the shale can release bromide which can contribute to the formation of carcinogenic trihalomethanes in rivers and streams.

The calls for re-examining the effects of shale exploration were welcomed by environmentalists. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the Food & Water Watch advocacy group, said. “We’re pleased that members of the Science Advisory Board have seen fit to highlight the disconnect and call on the Obama administration to address numerous high-profile cases of fracking contamination inexplicably left out of the study.”

The advisory board plans to issue a formal report to the EPA in February for the agency’s further consideration.

Source: Shale Play Ohio Valley

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