The editors of Scientific American just published an article on hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) and found that "A long list of technical questions remains unanswered about the ways the practice could contaminate drinking water, the extent to which it already has, and what the industry could do to reduce the risks."
They say that states are "flying blind" and "should put the brakes on the drillers" until more scientific data have been collected and analyzed. The editors mention the very simple steps that companies can afford and regulators should require to protect sources of clean drinking water: ensure better quality well construction; eliminate open air waste pits; monitor where frack fluid goes underground; and test and monitor drinking water quality. The editors also call on Congress to eliminate the "Halliburton Loophole" and regulate fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
We agree. As NRDC's President Frances Beinecke recently blogged: "NRDC will not support fracking....unless we are convinced that local communities, watersheds and habitat are protected to the maximum possible extent from the risks it presents, and – just as critically – that state and federal authorities have the tools they need to enforce essential safeguards." She added: "At the state and federal levels, we're not there yet."