An academic study from the University Texas-Austin shows that the hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to develop natural gas, "has no direct connection to groundwater contamination."
Dallas Business Journal (from an article in the Houston Business Journal):
The study reported that many problems blamed on hydraulic fracturing are related to processes common to all oil and gas drilling operations, such as casing failures or poor cement jobs.
University researchers also concluded that many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale gas drilling, rather than from hydraulic fracturing, Charles "Chip" Groat, an Energy Institute associate director, said in a statement.
"These problems are not unique to hydraulic fracturing," he said.
The research team examined evidence contained in reports of groundwater contamination attributed to hydraulic fracturing in three prominent shale plays - the Barnett Shale in North Texas; the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, New York and portions of Appalachia; and the Haynesville Shale in western Louisiana and northeast Texas.
"Our goal was to provide policymakers a foundation for developing sensible regulations that ensure responsible shale gas development," Groat said. "What we've tried to do is separate fact from fiction."
Jazz Shaw writing at Hot Air:
The vast majority of fracking activity takes place hundreds, if not thousands of feet below the aquifer. Will you find natural gas and related hydrocarbons in the area when you initially drill a hole in the ground in places like Pennsylvania's shale play? Yes, you will. You will also find those same compounds present when you drill a new water well. The land is full of hydrocarbons. That's why we drill there.
Of course, you can expect this study to fall on deaf ears among the usual suspects, just as previous ones have. Possibly the only thing that's going to attract the attention of the key players is the tens of thousands of jobs being added in Pennsylvania and the fact that state with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation right now is North Dakota, at 3.3%. I wonder how they managed that? (Hint: they're not picking mangoes.)
No, they're not. They are doing more to realize the dream of energy independence for America than the Obama White House will ever do.