Study: Natural Methane To Blame For Tainted Water, Not Fracking
Study: Natural Methane To Blame For Tainted Water, Not Fracking.
University of Texas at Austin researchers said high levels of methane in well water was likely caused by naturally-occurring, shallow natural gas deposits, not leaks from fracking operations near Fort Worth.
“Over geologic time, methane has accumulated into these shallower reservoirs,” Dr. Jean-Philippe Nicot, a geologist at UT involved in the research, said in a press statement.
A judge later ruled this “was not done for scientific study but to provide local and national media a deceptive video.” “Shortly after the EPA issued its baseless endangerment order, numerous experts testified at a Texas Railroad Commission hearing that methane in Parker County groundwater was not due to drilling,” Steve Everley, a spokesman for pro-industry Texans for Natural Gas, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The EPA curiously refused to attend that hearing,” Everley said.
Environmentalists often cite Parker County as an example of how fracking contaminates groundwater.
Activists argued in an article published by DeSmogBlog that while “local geology plays a role in leaks,” methane contamination was “traced to natural gas wells with insufficient cement barriers to separate them from surrounding rock and water or to improperly installed steel casings that allow the gas to travel upward.” EPA eventually dropped the case in 2012 and the Texas state government began an investigation.
Terry Engelder from Penn State University, one of the most well-respected experts on shale gas development in America, concluded in 2014 that there is ‘no link between fracking and groundwater contamination in the Fort Worth Basin.
“Our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” Amy Townsend-Small, the study’s lead researcher, told Newsweek in April.
Texas’s Barnett Shale is estimated to hold 172 million barrels of shale oil and 176 million barrels of natural gas liquids, twice as much natural gas and oil as expected, according to a December study by the U.S. Geological Survey.