Washington, D.C. – The Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a hearing to examine the science behind claims that hydraulic fracturing causes groundwater contamination and other environmental concerns. In several instances, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has investigated baseless allegations of water contamination and blamed natural gas production even before full scientific assessments were completed.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Opponents of hydraulic fracturing make claims based on the possibility and not the probability of associated risks. The EPA has used this agenda-driven approach to wrongly assert a connection between hydraulic fracturing and ground water contamination. The allegations made headlines; the retractions were footnotes. The science overwhelmingly shows that hydraulic fracturing can be done in an environmentally safe manner.”
Technological advancements in hydraulic fracturing have unlocked vast amounts of what used to be considered economically inaccessible oil and gas. The associated increase in domestic energy production has benefited the environment, the economy and Americans who now enjoy reduced energy prices.
Witnesses today testified that accusations of environmental damage from hydraulic fracturing have been overblown and not supported by fact-based evidence. Experts, including top Obama administration officials, have unanimously testified before the Committee that hydraulic fracturing has never contaminated groundwater. They also said that hydraulic fracturing has not been shown to be responsible for increased seismic activity. Earlier this week, William Ellsworth of the United States Geological Survey stated that a recent report he coauthored with Southern Methodist University does not show that hydraulic fracturing is responsible for earth quakes.
Witnesses today also questioned the scientific integrity of studies the New York State Department of Health relied upon for its recent recommendation to ban hydraulic fracturing. An Energy In Depth whitepaper released today details the significant influence of anti-fracking activists on the science behind New York State’s decision. The whitepaper cites strong evidence of political pressure from well-funded activist groups opposed to shale development in New York.
For additional information on today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.