Early last week, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a 278-page “progress report” on it’s multi-year study of hydraulic fracturing (full copy embedded below). The final report is due to be completed in late 2014. The purpose of the study? To try and figure out if there’s any conceivable way the EPA can get its hooks into regulating oil and gas drilling in the U.S.—something Constitutionally left to the individual states to do. The EPA is hoping to prove that fracking somehow, in some way, impacts groundwater, which would let them claim fracking comes under the purview of the Clean Water Act and empower them to regulate drilling.
The Dec. 2012 interim report was issued to keep everyone posted on their progress. It specifically details how the EPA is conducting its research—their methodology—but not any results…not yet. The results of the research and the conclusions/recommendations will come in late 2014. Unfortunately it seems the EPA held private meetings with prominent anti-frackers before releasing the progress report (see Energy in Depth’s excellent analysis here), casting doubt on the EPA’s ability to conduct impartial research.
Here’s the EPA’s press announcement from last week’s release of the progress report: