House Dems push EPA on fracking study

House Dems push EPA on fracking study
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A group of House Democrats on Thursday urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider a major agency report on hydraulic fracturing and drinking water.

A draft version of the EPA’s study concluded last year that fracking doesn't have a major impact on drinking water supplies around the country. 

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In August, the agency’s independent Science Advisory Board said the agency should bolster its report and “provide quantitative analysis that supports its conclusion that hydraulic fracturing has not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.”

The board called the report “comprehensive but lacking in several critical areas,” and said it needs to be clarified and present more evidence to back up its conclusions.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Trump budget slashes EPA funding | International hunting council disbands amid lawsuit | Bill targets single-use plastics Trump budget slashes EPA funding, environmental programs Overnight Energy: Trump credits economic progress to environmental rollbacks | Vote to subpoena Interior delayed by prayer breakfast | Dems hit agency for delaying energy efficiency funds MORE on Thursday, more than 50 Democrats, led by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), said the agency should follow the board’s advice before finalizing the fracking study.

“We urge you to accept the recommendations of the EPA Science Advisory Board’s extensive review of the draft Assessment Report and ask that the agency finalizes the draft Assessment Report before the end of the year,” the letter said. 

“Demand for ample, clean water supplies is only going to grow. Threats to clean water access impact current generations as well as those that follow.”

EPA’s fracking study, which came after five years of research, was viewed as a major victory for the oil and gas industry, a sector that has long downplayed environmentalists' warnings about fracking’s safety.

Greens pushed back, however, and have used the Advisory Board’s recommendations as their main ammunition against the conclusions in the draft study.