How the Government Hid Fracking’s Risk to Drinking Water

The “Halliburton loophole” exempts oil and gas companies from having to answer to the Clean Water Act for the chemicals they use for fracking. A new report says the government covered up scientists’ doubts about studies that claimed the chemicals were not harmful to groundwater.


The federal government hid evidence that chemicals used in hydraulic fracking can damage groundwater and drinking water, according to a report from Inside Climate News.

The implications are especially important for rural families that rely on wells for drinking water.

The findings go all the way back to 2004, when the George W. Bush administration’s Environmental Protection Agency commissioned a study on the chemicals used in fracking. The study, which minimized the risk from the chemicals, was not scientifically sound, a whistleblower said then.

New information says the report’s conclusion was not supported by the scientists who wrote it:

InsideClimate News has learned that the scientists who wrote the report disagreed with the conclusion imposed by the Bush EPA, saying there was not enough evidence to support it. The authors, who worked for a government contractor, went so far as to have their company’s name and their own removed from the final document.

Congress subsequently exempted fracking chemicals from regulation under the Clean Water Act. So property owners and neighbors don’t know what chemicals have been used in what quantities.

The complete story is here.