Feds: Fracking Is Good For You, After All

OK, not quite. But a major federal study of hydraulic fracturing has given the natural gas industry some breathing room, and residents in Southwestern PA’s Marcellus Shale a little peace of mind. The examined region was in Greene County, southwest of Pittsburgh.

After a year of monitoring, the [Pittsburgh-based] researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water…Drilling fluids tagged with unique markers were injected more than 8,000 feet below the surface but were not detected in a monitoring zone 3,000 feet higher. That means the potentially dangerous substances stayed about a mile away from drinking water supplies.

Two caveats offered by Duke scientist Rob Jackson. One, drillers knew a study was being done, so they might have been extra careful. Two, he says the incidence of fracking chemicals ending up in the water supply is rare, but the actual gas appearing in your water pipes (see: Gasland) is more common. [ABC News]