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Environmental Policy news: Fracking impacts reviewed in major study

An independent major study of fracking has found that there is no evidence to suggest that the practice – in which water, sand, chemicals are pumped into wells to break up deep layers of shale and release natural gas – has contaminated groundwater. However, the report does conclude that contamination tends to happen closer to the surface when gas and drilling fluid escapes from poorly lined wells or storage ponds.

The study, which appears to be wholly independent from undue influence by the natural gas industry, did not see a need for new regulations specific to fracking, but for better enforcement of existing regulations of drilling in general—such as those covering well casing and disposal of wastewater from drilling.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the ongoing battles over fracking in the U.S. and Canada. But is the larger question here not about fracking itself but the increasingly apparent need to move away from fossil-fuel based forms of energy? Doesn’t fracking represent the growing extremes to which we are willing to go in order to extract and burn every last drop of the earth’s diminishing fossil fuel reserves? Maybe it’s high time we figure out a plan for how we as a global community are going to wean ourselves off the “crack” once and for all.

Environmental Policy news: Fracking impacts reviewed in major study.

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