The Environmental Protection Agency’s long-awaited report on fracking dismayed liberal green groups Thursday while pleasing the oil and gas industry — the latest episode in both sides’ fraught relationship with President Barack Obama.
The study, more than four years in the making, said the EPA has found no signs of “widespread, systemic” drinking water pollution from hydraulic fracturing. That conclusion dramatically runs afoul of one of the great green crusades of the past half-decade, which has portrayed the oil- and gas-extraction technique as a creator of fouled drinking water wells and flame-shooting faucets.
The report also jibes with Obama’s global warming policies, which have openly promoted the use of natural gas as a more climate-friendly alternative to coal. But for both anti-fracking groups and the industry, it came as yet another example of Obama’s mixed messages on fossil fuels — from the same administration that has stalled the Keystone XL pipeline and pushed to wipe out the oil industry’s tax breaks, yet is also moving to open up much of the East Coast and the Arctic to offshore drilling.
“This study’s main finding flies in the face of fracking’s dangerous reality,” Rachel Richardson, director of Environment America’s Stop Drilling program, said in a statement. “The fact is, dirty drilling has caused documented, widespread water contamination across the country.”