A February 2012 report issued by the Energy Institute of the University of Texas at Austin concludes that there is no evidence that hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) causes groundwater contamination. The report, Fact-Based Regulation for Environmental Protection in Shale Gas Development, provides a snapshot of media and public perception, current regulations and enforcement, and a summary of various scientific studies on the environmental impacts of fracking. Section 4 of the report, “Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas Development,” is still in draft form. The report comes at a time when some states are banning fracking because of environmental concerns while others are embracing oil and gas development. To address the groundwater contamination issue, the authors reviewed various studies and concluded that little scientific evidence exists to support concerns that fracking causes groundwater contamination. The studies reviewed by the authors looked at groundwater contamination and other environmental impacts of shale gas exploration and production in the Barnett, Marcellus and Haynesville shales.
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