As the country awaits results from a nationwide safety study on the natural gas drilling process of fracking, a separate government investigation into contamination in a place where residents have long complained that drilling fouled their water has turned up alarming levels of underground pollution.
A pair of environmental monitoring wells drilled deep into an aquifer in Pavillion, Wyo., contain high levels of cancer-causing compounds and at least one chemical commonly used in hydraulic fracturing, according to new water test results released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The findings are consistent with water samples the EPA has collected from at least 42 homes in the area since 2008, when ProPublica began reporting on foul water and health concerns in Pavillion and the agency started investigating reports of contamination there.
Last year — after warning residents not to drink or cook with the water and to ventilate their homes when they showered — the EPA drilled the monitoring wells to get a more precise picture of the extent of the contamination.
Energy Dept. Panel Warns of Environmental Toll of Current Gas Drilling Practices
ProPublica, By Nicholas Kusnetz, November 10
A federal energy panel issued a blunt warning to shale gas drillers and their regulators today, saying they need to step up efforts to protect public health and the environment or risk a backlash that stifles further development.
”œConcerted and sustained action is needed to avoid excessive environmental impacts of shale gas production and the consequent risk of public opposition to its continuation and expansion,” said members of the Energy Department’s Shale Gas Subcommittee in a draft report released today.
Today’s report ”“ acknowledging that progress on the panel’s suggestions has been slow ”“ sets out who needs to do what in order to turn recommendations into reality. The panel also stressed the importance of shale gas to the nation’s energy policy, noting that it already makes up 30 percent of domestic gas production.
Why does this sound more like BP than a governmental report?
ProPublica’s Fracking Coverage.