Republicans are praising a new report on fracking that "puts to rest" an Obama administration push to link increased drilling to drinking water contamination.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality's "thorough investigation over the past several years has come to a close and confirms what we've known all along: hydraulic fracturing has not impacted drinking water resources," said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "The report puts to rest the faulty work of the [Environmental Protection Agency] that attempted to link water contamination to hydraulic fracturing in 2011."
The study of 13 water wells in Pavillion, Wyo., showed no evidence of water contamination from the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, according the department's Thursday report.
"Evidence does not indicate that hydraulic fracturing fluids have risen to shallow depths utilized by water-supply wells," a fact sheet on the study read. "Also, based on an evaluation of hydraulic fracturing history, and methods used in the Pavillion Gas Field, it is unlikely that hydraulic fracturing has caused any impacts to the water-supply wells."
The study showed some trace amounts of pesticides, but no organic compounds, which would indicate contamination from drilling "were identified at concentrations exceeding applicable drinking water standards," the fact sheet said.
Randy Hildreth, Colorado director for the industry think tank Energy In Depth, said the Wyoming study "doesn't just close the case on Pavillion — it's a knock-out blow for activists who have tried to use Pavillion as a key talking point for their ban-fracking agenda."
Inhofe said that the "facts have prevailed" over EPA's "witch hunt" to find a link between expanded drilling and water contamination. In fact, a landmark study issued by the administration and undergoing final review showed that "hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources," Inhofe pointed out.
Fracking is a drilling method that uses a mixture of sand and water injected deep underground to break up shale rock to release oil and natural gas embedded in the stone.
"The record is abundantly clear," Inhofe said, "with even the EPA affirming that in its landmark water study."
Inhofe pointed out that the nation is on a "path towards real energy independence due to the shale gas and oil revolution, bolstering our national security at a time when we face historic global instability."
"This is in spite of the fear-mongering tactics by environmental activists behind the nonsensical 'keep-it-in-the-ground movement' aimed at putting an end to fossil fuels," he added.
He said that he looks forward to Donald Trump's administration, which he said will "embrace" the "robust benefits that accompany safe hydraulic fracturing."