EPA sounds alarm on fracking in Wyoming
The Environmental Protection Agency said this week that chemicals from “fracking,” a controversial method of extracting natural gas from the ground, have polluted groundwater in Wyoming.
The findings represent the first time in the heated debate over fracking that the agency has drawn such a connection, which has long been claimed by environmental activists.
In a statement released on Thursday, the EPA said a study had found that groundwater in an aquifer around Pavillion, Wyoming, contained “compounds likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing.”
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process in which water, sand and chemicals are injected deep into the ground to crack the shale rock and unleash natural gas. The process has sparked concern in part due to worries about its effect on drinking water.
The EPA constructed a pair of wells to test water quality in the Wyoming aquifer, near where natural gas firm Encana (ECA) has drilled. Within these wells, researchers found synthetic chemicals associated with the fracking process as well as high methane levels and benzene concentrations “well above” Safe Drinking Water Act standards.