It looks like every day more and more cracks are appearing in the stock oil and gas industry argument about fracking-related water contamination. For those who haven’t heard it before, the standard line goes something like this: fracking couldn’t possibly contaminate underground drinking water because, between the productive shale layer and groundwater, there are thousands of feet of solid, impermeable rock. Even where contamination does occur, the claim continues, this is not due to fracking, but poor casing and cementing jobs, which are rare in practice and not worth worrying too much about.
The argument may sound nice, but there is an increasing body of evidence (and please forgive the pun here) that it’s anything but rock solid. I’ll highlight three recent findings:
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