We recently told you about the PR war over fracking (or hyraulic fracturing), a process that utilizes large volumes of high-pressured water, sand, and chemicals to fracture shale rock deep underground in order to extract the natural gas locked beneath it. In short, the oil and gas companies doing the fracking claim it’s completely safe, while citizens of towns being “fracked”, grassroots coalitions, social media campaigns, filmmakers and even some A-list celebrities insist it’s a dangerous, poorly-regulated process with the potential to contaminate land, ground water and air.
Well, in news that has dealt a major blow to the arguments of the energy companies and will undoubtedly force the PR professionals handling those companies to scramble for a positive spin, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has officially and scientifically linked fracking with underground water pollution, concluding that contaminants found in central Wyoming stemmed directly from fracking practices in the area. The study found that the contaminants included at least 10 compounds known to be used in fracking fluid–and that these chemicals had most likely seeped up from gas wells.
Not only do these findings create some obvious PR issues for the energy companies, but they also directly contradict several arguments that they’ve been using to assure the public that the process is safe.