In June 2015, the EPA issued a much-anticipated draft report about the effects of fracking on drinking water resources. With a misleading top-line, the EPA dismissed fracking's impacts as not "widespread, systemic." Media ran with this top-line, to the delight of the frackopoly.
As Food & Water Watch explained in detailed public comments, the study itself was riddled with problems. Still, the EPA’s 1000-page draft study identified many different risks and harms from fracking. But the EPA didn’t quantify the levels of resulting collateral damage. There were simply too many uncertainties, data gaps and other study limitations. Since then, the panel of experts tasked with reviewing the EPA’s draft report has exposed the EPA’s top-line as unsupported.
The fracking industry and big banks have huge stakes in promoting fracking, and we believe their influence explains why EPA chose to run with the controversial and unsupported headline. In December 2016, the EPA did the right thing, and dropped the controversial finding, because science couldn't support it.
Flip through the timeline below to see how this story has unfolded, and continues to unfold.
For a comprehensive look at the events that shaped the EPA study, explore our in-depth fracking timeline.