The EPA call for public guidance on the planned study of the impact of hydraulic fracturing on water quality resulted in the largest public environmental hearing ever in Western Pennsylvania. As 1,200 people filled the Southpointe venue on July 22, the event gained national attention. An earlier EPA hearing in Ft. Worth had 600 attendees, and in Denver there were about 350.
At the Southpointe hearing more than a hundred people testified, with testimony running at about 10:1 for people deeply concerned about the impact of fracking on their water supply. This was not only an expression of strong for the EPA study, but it hopefully demonstrated to legislators the deep concern that the public has about Marcellus Shale drilling.
The very fact that EPA has embarked on this study is a sharp questioning of the industry’s assertion that there is no contamination of groundwater by Marcellus drilling . The EPA’s plan to study specific cases of possible drinking water contamination should help to verify or disprove industry’s assertions.
Unfortunately, the preliminary results of the EPA study will only be available at the end of 2012, and it will be many months before any necessary regulations are promulgated. That leaves plenty of time for the Landsmen to seal up many more leasing agreements.
If you were unable to attend the July 22 hearing, you may provide to email@example.com your comments on the following:
- the scope of the study,
- suggested nominations for case studies
- potential risks that deserve attention
- public data that is available for use by the study
- possible data gaps.