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Duke Study finds Driller's Data on Fracking Safety Lacking

A Duke University study has cast doubt on data provided by a drilling company and calls into question the safety of its fracking operations.



As part of a settlement case brought on behalf of homeowners experiencing methane in their tap water, the Environmental Protection Agency allowed a drilling company, Range Resources Corporation (RRC) to regulate itself.


That turned out not to be such a good idea. Today, independent researchers at Duke University are finding much higher levels of methane in a group of Texas homes than RRC has represented.


In a Bloomberg article on the results of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) conducted on homes near Weatherford, Texas, stunning photos show tap water and hose water actually catching fire.


Shelly Perdue, a resident living near two wells in Weatherford (60 miles west of Dallas) said, “I don’t understand why they (the EPA) would let the company that was accused of doing the wrongdoing conduct the tests… It doesn’t make sense.”


The bargain cut with RRC underscores the fact the EPA is underfunded for its mandate to protect the U.S. waterways, lands, groundwater and air quality and often has to cut corners in implementing its mission.


According to EPA spokesman David Bloomgren, the agency will be meeting with state regulators to discuss the complaints. In the meantime, Steve Lipsky, another affected homeowner, said that “EPA is our best hope.” Otherwise, “something catastrophic is going to happen.”


Fracking involves shooting water, sand and chemicals underground to break apart rock and free trapped natural gas. This new and unproved technology has stimulated a boom in U.S. natural gas production.