The EPA issued a final report Tuesday on fracking, stating that in some circumstances, fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has been shown to contaminate or taint drinking water.
The report backtracked on an earlier draft's statement that fracking did not have "widespread, systematic impacts on drinking water." EPA scientists said they didn't have enough data to make that determination on a nationwide basis, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The report is seen by some as a parting shot by outgoing President Barack Obama to his political opponents, who mostly support fracking.
When asked, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator Thomas Burke did state the report found only a small number of instances of water contamination, but added the studies were greatly lacking in data to prove or disprove "widespread" impacts.
“While the number of identified cases of drinking water contamination is small, the scientific evidence is insufficient to support estimates of the frequency of contamination,” Burke said, the WSJ reported. “Scientists involved with finalizing the assessment specifically identified this uncertainty in the report.”
According to The New York Times, the final report found evidence fracking can cause or contribute to drinking water contamination at every stage of the process — getting the water needed for fracking, making fracking fluids with chemicals, the process of fracking itself, and collecting and storing the wastewater from fracking.
President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to expand fracking operations and decrease regulations on the practice.
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