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Matthew McFeeley’s Blog

New evidence: fracking has occurred in at least 32 states since 2005

Matthew McFeeley

Posted January 17, 2013

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Last month, EPA released a “progress report” on its ongoing study of hydraulic fracturing and the impacts of fracking on drinking water.  The progress report contains a lot of interesting information, but one particular map caught my eye.  The map shows that fracking has occurred in more states than previously known, including places like Arizona, Nevada, and Maryland.  All in all, we now know that fracking has occurred in at least 32 states since 2005. 

It may seem unbelievable, but because of exemptions in federal laws won by the oil and gas industry, there is no publicly available information that shows everywhere in the country where fracking is occurring.  Some states provide the information, but in some states companies do not even have to tell the state regulator that they will be fracking.  The EPA progress report relies on reporting by only nine fracking companies, so it may turn out that other companies are fracking in even more places.  In fact, we know from other sources that fracking has also happened in other states, including Alaska, South Dakota, and Missouri, even though the EPA’s map does not indicate any fracking there.

Here’s a map created by NRDC’s resident mapping guru Rachel Fried, showing every state where we know fracking has occurred since 2005:


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Alma HasseJan 17 2013 08:51 PM

Please add Idaho to this map!

We have eleven "test" gas wells that were drilled between 2010 and 2011. Seven of those were deemed to be commercially viable. They JUST STARTED FLARING last week!

Unfortunately you can now add our great state to your map...

Alma Hasse
Fruitland, ID

Environmental EngineerJan 19 2013 10:12 AM

The Urban Dictionary defines "Zohnerism" as the use of scientific fact for an unrelated false conclusion. You are attempting to generate a sense of alarm using this technique. High volume hydraulic fracturing (combined with directional drilling) is an advancement from a decades-old, very common practice of fracking traditional, vertical wells. I suspect that fracking has occurred in pretty much every oil field in the world, at one time or another, and the EPA report would likely support that. And fracking has a pretty good (not perfect) safety record. Maybe, just maybe, there is no "publicly available information that shows everywhere in the country where fracking is occurring" because it is a relatively innocuous activity that is commonplace.

What is the underlying issue here? Is it the specific activity of fracking? Or is it the broader issue that high volume fracking in shale deposits has dramatically increased the supply, and lowered the cost, of natural gas, and has the potential for the same effect with oil supply. This is reducing the support for alternative energy subsidies, because they are now (relative to natural gas) much higher than they would be otherwise. If the latter is your real issue, then present facts and arguments that relate to it, rather than the false issue of the implied dangers of fracking.

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