Environmental regulators in Wyoming say water contamination previously blamed on fracking was instead “almost certainly” caused by the EPA.
Anti-fracking activists repeatedly cited the plight of Pavillion, Wyo., as proof the process should be banned. EPA investigators accidentally drilled their own monitoring wells incorrectly, introducing the contaminants which were later detected in water samples. The agency followed this up by openly theorizing that fracking was to blame for the contamination.
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However, when other federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) examined the EPA’s report, it became clear the agency’s monitoring wells were the cause. Currently, state regulators are calling for EPA’s monitoring wells to be shut down, because of “the potential hazard they pose in relation to groundwater supplies and physical safety.”
This hasn’t stopped environmentalists from claiming the incident proves that fracking contaminates groundwater.
“From our assessment, we conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources. We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” according to a five-year study on the impacts of fracking published by the EPA in June 2015.
Even studies financially supported by environmentalists find no effect on water quality from fracking. A three-year study by the University of Cincinnati published in February found that fracking couldn’t contaminate groundwater. “Our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” Amy Townsend-Small, the study’s lead researcher, told Newsweek in April. “We haven’t seen anything to show that wells have been contaminated by fracking.”
Environmentalists responded to these studies with total denial, saying, “millions of Americans know that fracking contaminates groundwater and for the EPA to report any differently only proves that the greatest contamination from the industry comes from its influence and ownership of our government.”
Despite the preponderance of evidence, The Sierra Club still claims “fracking has contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of Americans.”
Fracking earthquake myths from environmentalists frequently confuse fracking with wastewater disposal. These myths are so widespread that the USGS actually maintains a “Myths and Misconceptions” section of its website to debunk them. Environmental groups frequently blame fracking for droughts, drinking water contamination, flaming tap-water, poverty, income inequality, and even low sperm counts.