A recent peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has confirmed what many fracking critics have argued for years: drilling operations associated with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking) for oil and gas can contaminate groundwater.
For the study, researchers examined groundwater contamination incidents at three homes in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale basin in Bradford County. As The New York Times explained, the water samples showed “traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids.”
The study’s release comes as a seminal lawsuit demanding recovery for such damages winds its way to a jury trial later this year in the U.S. District Court in Scranton, PA. That case pits two families from Dimock, PA, located in neighboring Susquehanna County, against Texas-based, industry giant, Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation.
As DeSmogBlog revealed in August 2013, a previously unpublished internal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) PowerPoint presentation confirmed that the EPA, as a result of its own limited sampling, knew that there was ongoinggroundwater contamination in Dimock potentially attributable to industry.
Yet, even though the EPA knew this, it issued an official desk statement to the public asserting that “there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency [in Dimock].”
As Greenpeace USA researcher Jesse Coleman recently pointed out, EPA has done the bidding of the oil and gas industry on multiple instances during high profile fracking studies.
That PowerPoint presentation and the new Bradford County study could both potentially serve as key pieces of evidence in theU.S. District Court case.