According to UPI, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has publically criticized a hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as "fracking," study conducted by the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA). The EPA conducted an analysis on a Wyoming aquifer located near a natural gas field and found that the water contained several synthetic chemicals that are common of the fracking process. However, the industry trade group asserts the study is "unscientific" and that it threatens the fracking industry.
Here are some facts and details about the study and the API's criticism of the EPA:
* The EPA's testing results, taken over a period of three years, were released in a draft report last year and after criticism from several natural gas companies, new government research on the same site was conducted and released this past September by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), noted the Wall Street Journal.
* Concerns over fracking chemicals in drinking water supplies motivated the series of studies in Pavillion, Wyo.
* In September after the second report was released, the EPA stated that the USGS data is "relatively consistent" with its own data.
* However, API is arguing that there are important differences in the USGS study in that it did not sample low-flow monitoring wells and that it also did not find several substances that the EPA's study found.
* The Houston Chronicle reported that API director Erik Milito said of the studies, "A bad study could be counterproductive, and there are enough missteps and unanswered questions about EPA's Pavillion sampling to raise concerns about the broader hydraulic fracturing water study…they really need to start from scratch."
* A major concern that the trade group has is that the "sloppy" study could reach further as the EPA prepares its national study on fracking, according to the Hill.
* The 2011 study at Pavillion was the first time the government concluded a connection between fracking practices and contaminated groundwater supplies. Citizens and environmental groups claim that this link is present in other areas of the country as well.
* In light of the criticism, several environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, have supported the risks of fracking outlined by the study.
* Both the EPA's draft report and data from the USGS will be submitted to an independent review by a panel of experts. Public comment is open until Jan. 15, 2013.
* Under a congressional mandate, the EPA is conducting further studies that examine the link between fracking and water with a final report scheduled to be released in 2014.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.