News > News > Safeguard Drinking Water > Riverkeeper Testifies at EPA Hydrofracking Hearing

Riverkeeper Testifies at EPA Hydrofracking Hearing

Calls for increased regulation and oversight

On September 13, Riverkeeper testified at the EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study hearings in Binghamton, NY. EPA held the hearings in order to receive stakeholder comments on its Science Advisory Board’s study on hydraulic fracturing and water contamination. Riverkeeper supports the agency’s “lifecycle analysis” approach to the study, which would examine not only the impacts from the actual fracturing, or stimulation, of gas wells, but also those impacts associated with all phases of hydraulic fracturing operations, from road building to water withdrawals to wastewater treatment. We also made clear that EPA’s study should be scientifically sound and remain free of political influence.

In addition to commenting on the study itself, Riverkeeper used the opportunity to urge EPA staff to continue working with states to ensure that regulation and enforcement of fracking operations are top priorities and called on the agency to utilize all possible avenues to stem the tide of oil and gas pollution in this country.

Riverkeeper also released a report at the hearing 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. 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.

    Riverkeeper will submit written comments in response to the EPAs specific questions to stakeholders related to the criteria for selecting case studies and study design.

    Read Riverkeeper’s full testimony.

Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
Become a Member