by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica – April 7, 2010 7:09 am EDT
A federal study of hydraulic fracturing  set to begin this spring is expected to provide the most expansive look yet at how the natural gas drilling process can affect drinking water supplies, according to interviews with EPA officials and a set of documents outlining  the scope of the project. The research will take a substantial step beyond previous studies and focus on how a broad range of ancillary activity – not just the act of injecting fluids under pressure – may affect drinking water quality.
The oil and gas industry strongly opposes this new approach. The agency’s intended research “goes well beyond relationships between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water,” said Lee Fuller, vice president of government affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of America in comments  (PDF) he submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency.
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