EPA to Hold Hearings on Natural Gas Hydraulic Fracking Review

[img_assist|nid=193468|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=225|height=281]Sept. 13, 2010 (GreenAnswers) – The latest battle over a natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracking will take place in upstate New York this week. Scheduled for Monday and Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency will be conducting public hearings on the controversial drilling technique in Binghamtom, New York.

The location of the hearings is important, as the natural gas industry has been advocating for the opening of massive gas reserves in New York’s Marcellus shale region. This particular reserve includes the important Catskills watershed, which provides all of the drinking water for New York City. There are concerns that dangers associated with fracking could result in widespread contamination.

Opponents argue that some of the dangers from fracking stem from the mixture of chemicals that are injected at high pressure into the earth during the process. Since Congress, in 2005, exempted fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act, natural gas drillers are not required to disclose what chemicals are contained in these mixtures. Some of the potential chemicals used include barium, strontium, benzene, glycol-ethers, toluene, 2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethanol, and nonylphenols.

The EPA’s hearings this week will focus on determining how broad of a focus the agency should take in its examination of fracking. While environmental groups, such as the NRDC, advocate a broad and comprehensive analysis of the procedure, industry groups unsurprisingly want a narrow review.

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