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New Report Provides EPA with More Than 100 Cases of Environmental Contamination Resulting from Gas Drilling Operations Nationwide

fractured communities

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Tina Posterli, tposterli@riverkeeper.org, 914-478-4501 x 239

White Plains, NY — September 15, 2010 — As nationwide EPA public hearings on gas drilling wrap up today in Binghamton, New York, Riverkeeper released a report that documents well over 100 cases of environmental contamination that it says EPA needs to examine as part of its current study on hydraulic fracturing, a type of gas drilling currently proposed for upstate New York.

The report, Fractured Communities, highlights case studies where federal and state regulators identified gas drilling operations, including those that utilize hydraulic fracturing, as the known or suspected cause of groundwater, drinking water, and surface water contamination.

Specifically, the report documents:

  • More than 20 cases of drinking water contamination in Pennsylvania;
  • More than 30 cases of groundwater and drinking water contamination in Colorado and Wyoming;
  • More than 10 cases of surface water spills of drilling fluid in the Marcellus Shale region;
  • More than 30 investigations of stray gas migration from new and abandoned wells in Pennsylvania;
  • Dozens of illegal operations and permit violations by gas drilling companies;
  • Five (5) explosions that occurred between 2006 and 2010 that contaminated groundwater and/or surface water.
  • State regulators have assessed over $3.6 million in penalties against gas companies as a result of these violations.

    The report concludes with 26 specific recommendations for federal legislative action, federal and state regulatory action, and best management practices that should be employed by the gas industry.

    “Despite industry rhetoric to the contrary, the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing are real,” said Craig Michaels, Watershed Program Director for Riverkeeper and an author of the report. “The case studies highlighted here represent just a sample of problems that regulators, landowners, municipalities, and communities across the country continue to uncover. We trust that EPA will assist state agencies in monitoring and investigating these problems as the agency continues its scientific study of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Here in New York, high-volume hydraulic fracturing should not be permitted until proper regulatory and enforcement mechanisms are in place.”

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