Industry is Wrong to Argue Fracking is Risk-Free; EPA Fracking Report Drops Controversial Draft Phrase Discounting Water Risk

Statement from Mark Brownstein, EDF Vice President, Climate and Energy Program

December 13, 2016
Kelsey Robinson, 214-240-2153,

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today finalized a multi-year research effort to assess the impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities on drinking water.

The final assessment omits the controversial statement that the agency “did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” The statement received criticism from the EPA’s Science Advisory Board and recent media reports suggest political considerations influenced the agency’s initial messaging.

Statement from Mark Brownstein, EDF Vice President, Climate and Energy

“EPA’s initial draft misled the public about the pollution risks of unconventional oil and gas development. The revised assessment puts an end to the false narrative of risk-free fracking that has been widely promoted by industry. It opens the door for policy improvements and scientific advancements that could better protect the people and places most impacted.

“The industry and EPA know as well as anyone else that spills, leaks, and faulty well construction can pollute air, water, and land. To pretend that there is no risk, and therefore no need for safeguards to protect communities and continuously improve state regulations to keep pace with evolving field practices, runs contrary to the huge body of evidence EPA reviewed.

“EPA’s final report makes it clear there is a lot of work yet to be done to better define the risks and the practices that will reduce them.”



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