Republican Sen. James Inhofe said it. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said it. Even former Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson said it.
For over a decade, oil and gas executives and the policy makers who support them have repeated a single bold claim: there has never been a single documented case where fracking contaminated groundwater.
But a blockbuster investigative report by the Associated Press offered up new evidence earlier this month that the shale industry’s keystone environmental claim is simply not true.
Multiple states confirmed that drilling and fracking contaminated groundwater supplies, the investigation found. There have been thousands of complaints from people living near drilling over the past decade, the AP reported, and three out of the four states from which the AP obtained documents confirmed multiple instances where oil and gas companies contaminated groundwater.
Out of the four states the AP obtained documents from, only Texas reported no confirmed oil and gas-related groundwater contamination. But one high-profile incident in Texas has again come under scrutiny, as a report quietly released by the Obama administration on Christmas Eve has called the adequacy of the state’s investigation into question.
On Monday, over 200 environmental groups called on President Obama to reopen the federal investigations into that case and others in Pennsylvania and in Wyoming, and to personally meet with people whose drinking water supplies have been polluted.
“The previously closed EPA investigation into these matters must be re-opened,” said the letter, sent the day before Mr. Obama's State of the Union address. “These three are among a growing number of cases of water contamination linked to drilling and fracking, and a significant and rapidly growing body of scientific evidence showing the harms drilling and fracking pose to public health and the environment.”