Confirmed: Fracking Threatens Drinking Water

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The final Assessment confirms what we’ve known for years: fracking threatens drinking water and EPA must take action to address these threats now. We are glad EPA resisted oil and gas industry spin, followed the science, and delivered the facts. - John Noel

Washington, DC - Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its five-year study on the impacts fracking activities have on drinking water. Importantly, the final version of the study confirmed the findings of the draft report - there are many cases of confirmed contamination and broader vulnerabilities to drinking water as a result of fracking activities. It also did not include misleading oil and gas industry spin that downplayed the findings in the draft report.

Learn more about the study here. EPA's study webpage is here.

"We've known for years that fracking and other oil and gas activities are a threat to drinking water," said John Noel, Clean Water Action's National Oil and Gas Campaigns Coordinator. "The final study discards the industry talking points that ignore the fact that fracking has the potential to contaminate water during every step of the process - from water acquisition through disposal."

The final study corrects one of the biggest shortcomings in the draft - it is free of oil industry influence. In the draft version, the executive summary was altered to downplay impacts to drinking water. The accompanying press release was also changed in the final hours and misled readers, the media and the general public about the actual findings of the study and the threats to drinking water.

The last minute additions obscured the rest of the study, which includes over 900 pages detailing known threats from fracking activities and numerous areas of uncertainty where more research is necessary. Clean Water Action applauds EPA for heeding the Science Advisory Board recommendations to remove the political spin from the study.  We also urge EPA to continue this research - there are persistent gaps in the data that must be closed in order to get a complete understanding of the full risks posed to drinking water from fracking activities.

"This study puts the science on our side and will allow communities to push back against the attacks we know are coming from the Trump administration," Noel continued. " If Scott Pruitt is confirmed as EPA Administrator, the oil and gas industry will be calling the shots. But, thanks to the Obama administration, we have a head start - proof that fracking threatens drinking water. This dangerous and complicated activity needs to be addressed before the industry should be allowed to expand any further."


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress.

Michael Kelly