June 8, 2015

Environmental Protection Agency: Fracking Does Not Pose A Threat To Drinking Water

In a report issued last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that there is no evidence that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, leads to water contamination. According to Politico, the report, which was requested by Congress more than four years ago, found some “isolated incidents in which water pollution was attributable” to fracking, but “failed to back up the idea that fracking poses a major threat to water supplies.” The EPA said it reviewed the potential impacts at “each stage of the hydraulic fracturing water cycle.” 

Due in part to concerns about fracking’s impact on residents’ drinking water, a handful of localities, including several in Colorado, and states across the United States have passed fracking bans. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a statewide ban in late 2014 (at least 15 cities threatened to “secede” after the ban was enacted) while Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) recently let a bill to ban fracking for two-and-a-half years take effect. However, just as many states have opted to limit these bans; in the last few weeks, governors in both Texas and Oklahoma signed legislation to keep cities and counties from limiting fracking. 

As a reminder, a March 2015 report from Brookings Institution, a centrist think tank in Washington, DC, found natural gas production reduced U.S. consumers’ gas bills by $13 billion, or $200 per household, between 2007 and 2013. The report also found fracking added $74 billion to the economy during that period. 

As part of the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance, MSCI has supported policies that allow for an expansion of hydraulic fracturing. According to the EEIA, hydraulic fracturing will:

  • Increase shale energy supply chain workers’ total incomes from $41 billion in 2012 to close to $60 billion in 2025;
  • Lower the average American's household energy bill by $2,700 by 2020 and by $3,800 by 2025;
  • Contribute $468 billion annually to America's gross domestic product by 2020;
  • Create 3.3 million more jobs by 2020 and 3.9 million more jobs by 2025.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy has also said, “Responsible development of natural gas is an important part of our work to curb climate change and support a robust clean energy market at home.”