Originally published June 9 2015
EPA says drink your fracking water!
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) All that underground blasting by corporations to release natural gas and oil from deep within the earth, a relatively new energy-harvesting technique known as "hydraulic fracturing," is of no concern to the nation's drinking water. This is the politically charged opinion of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), anyway, which -- backed by the Obama Administration -- recently announced to Americans: drink up!
The EPA report, which took about five years to compile, claims that so-called "fracking" poses no "widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water," countering data presented by environmentalists and independent researchers over the years showing that fracking is causing major damage to water systems. The report claims to have identified several "potential vulnerabilities" but insists that drilling pollution is not a significant threat to water supplies.
The fracking process involves blasting large amounts of water and chemicals into the earth's crust in order to break open shale and other rock that contains fossil fuels. It admittedly leads to contamination, including through spills and inadequate treatment of discharged wastewater. But presumably under duress from the fracking industry, the EPA has somehow decided that none of this is a problem as far as underground aquifers and other fresh water sources are concerned.
Earlier study found major problems with chemicals used in fracking fluid, which is dumped untreated back into the earth The EPA must have missed the 248th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), which presented research from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of the Pacific showing that virtually none of the nearly 200 chemicals used in the fracking process have been properly safety tested. Fracking fluid often goes untreated after use, which means it is literally dumped raw into the ground, polluting anything and everything along the way.
"You can't take a truckload of ice cream and dump it down the storm drain," stated William Stringfellow, Ph.D., author of a study that identified major concerns about the safety of many of the ingredients used in fracking fluid. "Even ice cream manufacturers have to treat dairy wastes, which are natural and biodegradable. They must break them down rather than releasing them directly into the environment."
As it turns out, at least eight separate substances used in fracking fluid are of high concern, including corrosion inhibitors and biocides in particular, which are being used in exceptionally high concentrations.
"Biocides, for example, are designed to kill bacteria -- it's not a benign material," Dr. Stringfellow added.
Fracking is triggering earthquakes in unusual places like Texas, Oklahoma Then there's the unusual seismic activity occurring in areas where fracking is now prevalent. Earthquake surges in places like north-central Texas and Oklahoma, for instance, where earthquakes were virtually unheard of before the advent of fracking, are now hotbeds of seismic activity, sinkholes and other unusual events.
"It is possible that some of these earthquakes have a natural origin, but it is implausible that all are natural," wrote Dr. Cliff Frohlich, a senior research scientist at the Unviersity of Texas' Institute for Geophysics, author of a study on fracking that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.
Did the EPA consider any of this in its five-year investigation into the safety of fracking? Perhaps. But none of what the federal agency has since concluded about fracking makes much sense if it did, considering that the EPA has essentially given its blessing to a practice that is obviously causing massive destruction to the natural environment.
"The EPA chose to leave many critical questions unanswered," said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. "For example, the study did not look at this issue under the lens of public health and ignored numerous threats that fracking poses to drinking water. The EPA must conduct a comprehensive study that results in action to protect public health."
You can learn more about the environmental damage caused by fracking by visiting:
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