On June 23, 2011, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the locations to be examined in its Hydraulic Fracturing Study. Among the seven selectees are sites in Pennsylvania’s Bradford, Susquehanna, and Washington Counties. EPA Press Release, June 23, 2011. The study locations were chosen following the nomination and prioritization process outlined in EPA’s February 7, 2011, draft study plan. Factors considered in the prioritization process included geographic and geologic diversity, at-risk populations, water source characteristics, and land uses. EPA’s study is the result of a Congressional Appropriations Conference Committee directive issued in 2010. The study’s goals are to determine whether hydraulic fracturing impacts drinking water resources, and if so, the nature of that impact. The case studies are divided into two groups: five retrospective examinations intended to determine if fracking has caused any local water contamination, and two prospective examinations of how water is used throughout the fracking process. Bradford and Susquehanna Counties will host one of the retrospective studies while Washington County will host both retrospective and prospective examinations. For more information on Marcellus Shale legal issues, please visit the Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center’s Marcellus Shale Resource Area.
Written by Michael A. Magee, Research Assistant
Published in Penn State's July Agricultural Law Brief