Friday, December 9, 2011

Frack Off

Gee, what a surprise.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that fracking — a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells — may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution.

The draft finding could have a chilling effect in states trying to determine how to regulate the process.

The practice is called hydraulic fracturing and involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open fissures and improve the flow of oil or gas to the surface.

The EPA’s found that compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals had been detected in the groundwater beneath a Wyoming community where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals.

Health officials advised them not to drink their water after the EPA found hydrocarbons in their wells.

The EPA announcement has major implications for the vast increase in gas drilling in the U.S. in recent years. Fracking has played a large role in opening up many reserves.

The industry has long contended that fracking is safe, but environmentalists and some residents who live near drilling sites say it has poisoned groundwater.

Pumping millions of gallons of chemicals under high pressure into the ground to force the gas up to the surface. What could possibly go wrong?