Study of Hydraulic Gas Drilling - EPA's New Initiative

  • Date: March 24, 2010
  • Source: Admin
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Controversies with Hydraulic Gas Drilling

Drilling the shale rock to find the embedded natural gas is a booming practice nowadays. This drilling has some pros and cons associated with it. While it makes U.S. less dependent on other countries for foreign oil and stops polluting coal, it definitely creates water contamination. 

Chemicals that this drilling requires and wastewater that it produces are of major concerns for the environmentalists. A recent research, done by the Environmental Working Group, reveals that hydraulic drilling distillates kerosene, mineral spirits and a number of other petroleum products that often contain high levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen that is toxic in water at even minuscule levels.

People living in communities where shale gas drilling is occurring, often complaint about foul smells in tap water, and toxic chemicals, such as benzene, have also been detected in water from wells near drilling sites.

In 2005, Congress in exempted hydraulic fracturing, except fracturing with diesel fuel, from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

EPA’s Initiative

EPA has announced to start a study on the effects of hydraulic drilling on human health and on overall environment. It is going to analyze drilling effects on groundwater, surface water also. The EPA has allocated $1.9 million for its study, which the agency said is in the very early stages and should be completed in 2012.

Study would be conducted through, according to Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development, “…a transparent, peer-reviewed process, with significant stakeholder input.”


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