Pennsylvania has three of the seven sites picked by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the potential
effects of fracking on drinking water. The sites are in Bradford
County in the Northern Tier, Susquehanna County in the northeast
and Washington County in the southwest.
EPA spokesperson Mollie Lemon summarized the investigations in a
"EPA has selected seven case studies that the Agency
believes will provide the most-useful information about the
potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water
resources under a variety of circumstances. The information we
gather from these case studies will be part of an approach which
includes literature review; collection of data and information from
states, industry and communities; laboratory work; and computer
modeling. The combination of these materials will allow us to do a
more comprehensive assessment of the potential impacts of hydraulic
fracturing on drinking water resources.
Two sites are prospective case studies where EPA will monitor
key aspects of the hydraulic fracturing process at future hydraulic
fracturing sites. They are located in:
Haynesville Shale: DeSoto County, La. (Chesapeake Energy)
Marcellus Shale: Washington County, Pa. (DOE and Range
The five retrospective case studies, which will focus on
possible drinking water contamination due to hydraulic fracturing
operations at existing sites, are located in:
Bakken Shale: Kildeer and Dunn Counties, N.D.
Barnett Shale: Wise and Denton Counties, Texas
Marcellus Shale: Bradford and Susquehanna Counties, Pa.
The case studies were identified, prioritized and selected based
on rigorous criteria and site visits by EPA scientists who will be
conducting the research. Decision criteria include proximity of
population and drinking water supplies, evidence of impaired water
quality (retrospective only), health and environmental concerns
(retrospective only) and knowledge gaps that could be filled by the
case study. Sites were prioritized based on geographic and geologic
diversity, population at risk, site status (planned, active or
completed), unique geological or hydrological features,
characteristics of water resources and land use."
David M. DeSalle is a partner of Duane Morris LLP,
practicing in the area of energy law. Mr. DeSalle advises clients
on a variety of transactional and regulatory issues and also
represents clients before state and federal courts and regulatory
Lou Crocco is a managing director of Duane Morris
Government Affairs LLC. He is a former legislative leadership
staffer in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He works as a
lobbyist-consultant at DMGA, representing clients both in
Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to announce between now and December 31, 2014 its plan for pursuing methane reductions from the oil and gas sector – including whether it will propose new emission reduction regulations.