Riverkeeper submits comments to EPA for Hydraulic Fracturing Study
Earlier this week Riverkeeper, along with 30 of our Waterkeeper partner organizations, submitted comments to EPA for its Hydraulic Fracturing Study.
The more we learn about industrial gas production, the more we are concerned about impacts to groundwater, surface water, and drinking water resources, along with threats to air quality, landscapes, and human health.
Unfortunately, most states have allowed extensive fracking operations to proceed without attempting to study and/or mitigate environmental impacts, an approach that flies in the face of the Precautionary Principle, a fundamental and globally recognized scientific and legal policy that underlies nearly all of our nation’s environmental laws. The Precautionary Principle dictates that where there is scientific uncertainty concerning a proposed action, the proponent of such action bears the burden of proving that the activity will not be harmful. In such instances, the role of decision makers is to err on the side of protecting public health and the environment and to respond aggressively to low probability, high-impact events. Studying potential impacts to drinking water before employing specific technologies on a grand scale is the proper course of action. Our comments urge EPA to highlight the benefits of this approach in the course of its study of hydraulic fracturing.
We also included Riverkeeper’s Fractured Communities Report that documents case studies from across the country where state and federal regulators indentified industrial gas drilling, including operations that utilize hydraulic fracturing, as the known or suspected cause of groundwater, drinking water, and surface water contamination.
Riverkeeper and our partners will continue to participate fire to ensure that its current study of hydraulic fracturing remains scientifically sound, unbiased and free of political pressure from any special interest and that the agency stands by its commitment to use a lifecycle analysis approach that will study all aspects of hydraulic fracturing operations, from roadbuilding to wastewater treatment to proper plugging of completed wells. The current study will hopefully lead the way for other long-term scientific assessments on this and other important environmental issues.