WASHINGTON—This week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its much-anticipated final report about the possible effects of fracking on US drinking water resources. Today, a team of researchers at Resources for the Future (RFF) posted a new blog: Understanding EPA’s Final Report on Hydraulic Fracturing. In it, the authors discuss how reactions to a change made to a controversial sentence in the Executive Summary of the report fail to recognize that most of the report is, in fact, little different from the draft.
Much of the subsequent commentary about this report has focused on the fact that EPA dropped language contained in an earlier (2015) draft, which stated: “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” Some in the environmental community take this shift to mean that effects are widespread and systemic, while many in the oil and sector note that the information is still largely anecdotal.
However, Alan Krupnick, RFF senior fellow; Daniel Raimi, RFF senior research associate; and RFF research assistant Isabel Echarte conclude that while episodic instances of pollution have been documented, only more research can resolve uncertainties about how systemic the problems are.
Read the full blog post: Understanding EPA’s Final Report on Hydraulic Fracturing.