Blogs » The nature of things » Will the EPA's fracking study ask the tough questions?

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If you've been living with your head under a rock you may not have heard about how horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) have unlocked shale plays like the Eagle Ford Shale, causing a boom in the U.S. oil industry the like of which hasn't been seen in this country in years.

You may have also missed the concerns environmentalists have voiced about the practice.

Many studies have been done, but as Robert Zavala, our multimedia editor, and I learned while researching for a graphic on the issue last year, for every study concluding one thing about fracking and the environment, there seems to be another study refuting it or the study will step around one of the main issues that needs to be addressed.

Now, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is stepping up to do their own story, but the EPA may not be asking the hard questions either, according to an AP story .

The EPA study won't be released until 2014, but a progress report released in December shows the study won't be addressing one key issue - how often groundwater may be contaminated, according to the story.

The EPA is working with members of the industry, environmentalists and those from the university to conduct the study but the federal agency couldn't find a drilling company willing to work with them to test groundwater, so it won't be tested.

Still ought to make for some interesting reading when the final report does come out in late 2014.