In late December the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued “Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources: Progress Report.”
The study encompasses the full life cycle of water used in hydraulic fracturing: water acquisition, chemical mixing, well injection, flow-back and produced water, and waste-water treatment and disposal.
In 2010 Congress asked the EPA for this study and the final report is not due until 2014.
This interim report does not give any clues as to what will be in the final report, but it does provide over 200 pages of detailed information about EPA’s procedures and plans. The EPA press release states “While this progress report outlines the framework for the final study, it does not draw conclusions about the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, which will be made in the final study.”
EPA has also announced additional opportunities for public involvement in the study. To see these go to http://www.epa.gov/hfstudy/getinvolved.html.
To read this report go to http://www.epa.gov/hfstudy/pdfs/hf-report20121214.pdf.
Finally, for more information read the Policy Watch column in your February 2013 Explorer.