EWG Dissects Federal Fracking Report
A Department of Energy advisory panel’s draft report has insufficiently examined in depth the health and safety issues raised by natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, according to a detailed assessment by Environmental Working Group.
An EWG analysis finds that the Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board failed to offer a comprehensive plan to avert the most harmful impacts of hydraulic fracturing on health, property and the environment.
According to EWG’s comments to the Energy Department, the panel report does not mention seven exemptions from federal environmental law enjoyed by the natural gas drilling industry. Nor does the report address drinking water contamination by drilling operations. It has not explored how confidentiality agreements between drilling companies and landowners whose property has been been damaged have interfered with the public’s right to know about the dangers of fracking.
The panel has urged the industry to disclose its activities and plans more fully and to make greater efforts to ensure air and water quality. But too much of the panel’s verbiage has focused on public relations aspects of the fracking controversy, not on the underlying reasons for it.
EWG, along with other environmental and public health organizations, religious leaders, affected communities, New York State elected officials, and scientists from across the country had previously expressed concerns that six of the seven members of this panel have current financial ties to the oil and natural gas industry.
And check out our latest investigation on hydraulic fracturing, Cracks in the Façade.