May 6, 2012--2 new reports back fears of fracking contamination (Durango Herald)

Two recently released reports appear to add weight to fears that the natural-gas extraction process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” can contaminate aquifers and other sources of fresh water for homes and towns. One regional oil and gas industry official, however, scoffed at the findings. “There is a big difference between those who practice science and those who purchase science,” said David Ludlam, executive director of the Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association in Grand Junction. Both reports were prepared by independent hydrologist Tom Myers, Ph.D., of Reno, Nev., whose clients include government agencies and environmental groups. One report, issued April 30, summed up Myers’ assessment of the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation into water-well contamination in 2010 and 2011 in the area around Pavillion, Wyo., a region of extensive natural-gas drilling activity. The EPA, in a report issued in December 2011, found that groundwater in the region probably was contaminated by fracking activities at nearby natural-gas drilling sites. Fracking is a process in which water, sand and chemicals are injected deep underground to break up rock layers and ease the flow of oil and gas to the surface. Fracking is used for practically all of the gas wells drilled on Colorado’s Western Slope and has been the subject of criticism from some area residents who say their water supplies and air have been poisoned by drilling activities.

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