A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.Of course, a single study can't prove that fracking might pollute groundwater with some bad luck, a mistake by the driller (most oil well don't blow out, either), or some really unforeseen geology, but lots of well have been drilled by now, and no evidence of groundwater pollution that threatens any near surface aquifer has been found. And so, repeated studies have tried to find pollution from fracking and have not been able to. One must conclude that it is substantially safe from that particular point of view.
After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water, geologist Richard Hammack said.
Although the results are preliminary -- the study is still ongoing -- they are a boost to a natural gas industry that has fought complaints from environmental groups and property owners who call fracking dangerous.
Drilling fluids tagged with unique markers were injected more than 8,000 feet below the surface, but were not detected in a monitoring zone 3,000 feet higher. That means the potentially dangerous substances stayed about a mile away from drinking water supplies.
"This is good news," said Duke University scientist Rob Jackson, who was not involved with the study. He called it a "useful and important approach" to monitoring fracking, but cautioned that the single study doesn't prove that fracking can't pollute, since geology and industry practices vary widely in Pennsylvania and across the nation.
The greenies, however, don't care. The depth of their animosity to fracking comes not from it's potential to pollute drinking water, and their certainly more than willing to use that as an excuse. Rather, it comes from opposition to the use of fossil fuels in general, and they're desperately afraid that safe, cheap, and clean natural gas will prolong their long hoped for transition to