November 22, 2014--New report looks at fracking amid drought (Denton Chronicle)

Hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and oil wells threatens America’s water supplies in drought-stricken areas, according to a report released Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group. The report, titled “Monster Wells,” discovered that more than 3.3 billion gallons of water was used between April 2010 and December 2013 to frack 261 “monster wells” across the nation, many of them in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Texas. The Environmental Protection Agency claims the average amount of water used in the hydraulic fracturing process of a well is between 50,000 and 5 million gallons. Fracking involves high-pressure pumping of sand, water and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas from shale thousands of feet below the ground. “We’re hoping that [the report] would put more pressure on the [oil and gas] industry to put human needs first,” said co-author Bill Walker, a consultant for Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. Walker and co-author Soren Rundquist, a landscape and remote sensing analyst for the Environmental Working Group, analyzed data provided by the oil and gas industry to FracFocus, a national hydraulic fracturing chemical registry managed by the Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, two organizations whose missions include conservation and environmental protection. The authors then matched that data to the drought status of the 261 well locations at the time each one was drilled, according to the report.

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