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Hydraulic Fracturing Can Potentially Contaminate Drinking Water Sources

Author: Natural Resources Defense Council July 2012

Communities across the country are concerned about the risks that oil and gas production using fracking poses to drinking water sources. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the practice of injecting water, chemicals, and proppant at high pressure into a gas or oil well. The high-pressure injection fractures or re-fractures the rock, stimulating oil and gas production.

But scientists and environmentalists are increasingly concerned about groundwater and surface water contamination that may be associated directly or indirectly with fracking.

NRDC opposes expanded fracking until effective safeguards are in place. To protect drinking water sources from contamination, NRDC urges the use of key management practices to minimize the risks associated with fracking activities. This includes (1) federal regulation of all hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act, (2) regulation of toxic oil and gas waste under federal and state hazardous waste laws, and (3) stronger standards and enforcement under the federal Clean Water Act and state laws.


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