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Hydraulic Fracturing Cracks Open Hot Public Debate

About 1,200 people turned out for a heated EPA public hearing in Pennsylvania on hydraulic fracturing and natural gas drilling.

The speakers had strong opinions about the pros and cons, and the potential impact on drinking water. One resident told regulators:“I can take you right now to my neighbors who have lost their water supplies  .... I can take you also to places where spills have killed fish and other aquatic life.”

Read articles in The New York Times, the Times' green blog, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Associated Press.

The Pittsburgh newspaper reported: "Myron Arnowitt, state director for Clean Water Action, said the EPA needs to look at industry practices that have caused the state Department of Environmental Protection to issue 565 violations at 207 of the 1,458 wells drilled into the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania since 2005.

'Eighty of the violations are for illegal disposal of wastewater, and 115 of them were for frack pit violations, and those are serious and need to be investigated by the EPA,' Mr. Arnowitt said.

The hearing was the third of four meetings scheduled around the country by the EPA to provide information and gather comments about its proposed $1.9 million study of the risks to surface and ground water from fracking, a high-pressure, water intensive, procedure used in deep natural gas well drilling to free the gas from dense rock layers a mile or more underground. The EPA held hearings in Fort Worth, Texas, and Denver earlier this month, and next month will hold the last hearing in Binghamton, N.Y."

Meanwhile, a television station reported that a Pennsylvania man who was working on a water slide for his children was burned when gas leaking from a nearby natural gas well ignited.




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