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EPA to Investigate Hydraulic Fracking's Effects on Drinking Water

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Washington, DCDrilling procedures related to finding and extracting natural gas - including a hydraulic fracturing also known as 'fracking'– are coming under federal review by the Department of Energy, following an order by President Obama.

This follows on from an extensive review already underway by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is looking at how drilling affects the drinking water. According to Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, this study is the first of its kind.

Fracking in particular, has come under close scrutiny of late, as experts believe not enough is currently known about its effects on the environment, including underground water sources. It is used to extract natural gas from the rich and largely untapped reserves that run from New York State down through Pennsylvania and as far south as Texas.

People in favor of fracking claim that there have been sufficient studies and further reviews will cause bureaucratic delays. The process uses a mix of water and chemicals to help extract the gas. The industry says frack water has never contaminated drinking water.

In February, 2011, nine families from the town of Horseshead in Upstate New York have launched a massive class-action suit against the Anschutz Exploration Corporation and its subcontractors alleging that a hydraulic fracturing operation to extract natural gas destroyed their property values and contaminated their drinking water.


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