Today, the US EPA released its long awaited progress report on fracking. The report is titled Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources: Progress Report. The full report can be found at http://www.epa.gov/hfstudy/. The EPA is using “computer models . . . to identify conditions that may lead to impacts on drinking water resources from hydraulic fracturing.” The progress report states that “at this time, the EPA has not made any judgment about the extent of exposure to these chemicals when used in hydraulic fracturing fluids or found in hydraulic fracturing wastewater, or their potential impacts on drinking water resources.”
This “not made any judgment” statement is sure to receive attention in the days and weeks ahead. Some stakeholders had predicted that this progress report would provide some basis for interim regulation. Instead, it appears that the industry will not face any new federal regulation until at least late 2014 at the earliest, which is the projected date of release for the final report.