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The oil and gas industry says it's safe (PR)

Dear Readers,

The oil and gas industry says it's safe. Environmental Working Group wants more science. You have probably heard about it. It's called hydraulic fracturing or fracking -- whatever the name, let's make sure we can call it safe.

The oil and gas industry claims that hydraulic fracturing has never contaminated drinking water wells. EWG's recent study,Cracks in the Façade, uncovered documents showing that in 1987, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded thatfracking could -- and did -- contaminate a water well used by a West Virginia family.

Still, industry insists that this controversial drilling technique is safe -- even though the EPA also concluded that the incident in West Virginia was representative of contamination from oil and gas drilling.

Click here to stand with EWG and tell EPA officials they have a responsibility to look into fracking and make sure the oil and gas companies aren't harming our water supply -- and us.

Fracking is escalating as drilling companies seek to exploit gas deposits trapped in untapped shale formations. But scientific understanding of the technology's hazards hasn't kept up with the expansion of drilling. We need the EPA to step up and protect our drinking water and land by intensifying its investigations of the potential risks to air, water and the environment.

Fracking injects a mix of water, sand and chemicals into underground shale formations under high pressure to free embedded deposits of oil and gas. It has been associated with drinking water contamination and property damage across the nation, from Pennsylvania to Wyoming, but the industry has always denied that the process can contaminate groundwater.

Yet EWG's investigation turned up a long-forgotten EPA report that said that in 1982, Kaiser Gas Co. drilled and hydraulically fractured a natural gas well on private property in Jackson County, W. Va. In a 1987 report to Congress, the EPA concluded that the process had contaminated the landowner's well. The EPA called this contamination "illustrative" of the types of pollution associated with natural gas and oil drilling. The EPA might have included other examples of groundwater pollution from fracking, but the agency's investigation was hampered by confidentiality agreements between industry and affected landowners.

For almost 25 years neither the industry nor the EPA itself has mentioned this study or followed up with more research to determine how fracking fluid might seep into well water. That's too long to leave our drinking water at risk.

Click here to join EWG in demanding that the EPA conduct research into fracking's hazards. We must keep our water safe.

Thank you for standing up for safe drinking water. Together, we can make sure that the EPA determines the true risks of fracking and protects our drinking water.


Ken Cook
President, Environmental Working Group