USGS: No Groundwater Contamination from Fracking in Arkansas

A newly released report by the US Geological Survey found no groundwater contamination as a result of fracking in an area of Arkansas. This comes just a week after a leaked report showed that NY had determined the process was safe for drinking water.

The USGS sampled 127 wells in the area of the Fayetteville Shale, a rich deposit of natural gas that runs below Arkansas. They found no increase in chloride or trace metals at wells within the study area. In fact, the water sampled from wells was clearer than historical samples to which they were compared

The full study notes that this does not demonstrate water quality has improved, since the same wells were not sampled for the historical data. Nevertheless, the USGS found no evidence of contamination by fracking fluids or methane.

The USGS analysis comes just about a week after a report was leaked to the New York Times showing that NY state had determined a year ago that fracking was safe for area groundwater. New York has spent four years studying the safety of fracking. The report in question had to be leaked because it was never released to the public. The leaker explained that he (or she) was tired of the secrecy.

When the EPA did a similar investigation of groundwater in Dimock, PA -- a site featured in the anti-fracking film "Gasland" -- it found the water was safe to drink. A more complete report on fracking is expected from the EPA in 2014.

Despite the lack of evidence that fracking poses a danger to groundwater, the public crusade against it has continued, most recently with "Promised Land," a Hollywood film which turns the anti-fracking thesis of "Gasland" into a star-filled environmental thriller. 

The film has been panned by all but the most friendly sources. It has also been a tremendous flop at the box office, despite a significant advertising budget and having Matt Damon in the lead role.

Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/Hereafter


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