A couple of items to note regarding hydraulic fracturing in the news:

  • The U.S. Department of Energy has initiated its own review of hydraulic fracturing (i.e., in addition to the study being done by U.S. EPA):  "A group of highly respected experts with experience in industry, environmental groups and state regulatory agencies will form a subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board to conduct the review, and will work to identify, within 90 days of beginning their work, any immediate steps that can be taken to improve the safety and environmental performance of hydraulic fracturing. They will also develop, within six months of beginning their work, consensus recommended advice to the agencies on practices for shale extraction to ensure the protection of public health and the environment."  Why?
  • Researchers at Duke University have issued a study finding systematic evidence of methane contamination in areas being drilled using hydraulic fracturing, according to this report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Interestingly, it found no chemical contamination:  "We found no evidence for contamination of drinking-water samples with deep saline brines or fracturing fluids."  For a copy of the report, see here.