What They Are Saying

The experts have a lot to say about hydraulic fracturing.

Independent Studies

“[T]here is at present little or no evidence of groundwater contamination from hydraulic
fracturing of shales at normal depths. No evidence of chemicals from hydraulic fracturing fluid has been found in aquifers as a result of fracturing operations.”

– “Fact-Based Regulation for Environmental Protection in Shale Gas Development,” Energy Institute, University of Texas at Austin (p. 18, February 2012)

“[T]here is substantial vertical separation between the freshwater aquifers and the fracture zones in the major shale plays. The shallow layers are protected from injected fluid by a number of layers of casing and cement — and as a practical matter fracturing operations cannot proceed if these layers of protection are not fully functional.”

– “The Future of Natural Gas,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology (p. 15, 2010)

“[B]ased on over sixty years of practical application and a lack of evidence to the contrary, there is nothing to indicate that when coupled with appropriate well construction; the practice of hydraulic fracturing in deep formations endangers ground water. There is also a lack of demonstrated evidence that hydraulic fracturing conducted in many shallower formations presents a substantial risk of endangerment to ground water.”

– “State Oil and Natural Gas Regulations Designed to Protect Water Resources,” U.S. Department of Energy and Ground Water Protection Council (p. 39, May 2009)

“Ground water is protected during the shale gas fracturing process by a combination of the casing and cement that is installed when the well is drilled and the thousands of feet of rock between the fracture zone and any fresh or treatable aquifers.”

– “Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States: A Primer,” U.S. Department of Energy and Ground Water Protection Council (p. ES-4, April 2009)

“EPA did not find confirmed evidence that drinking water wells have been contaminated by hydraulic fracturing fluid injection…”

– “Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (executive summary, p. ES-16, 2004)

State/Federal Regulators

“I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.”

– Lisa Jackson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (May 24, 2011)

“Everybody in this room understands that hydraulic fracturing doesn’t connect to the groundwater…It’s almost inconceivable that we would ever contaminate, through the fracking process, the groundwater.”

– John Hickenlooper (D), Governor of Colorado and former petroleum geologist (Aug. 2, 2011)

“We’ve never had one case of fracking fluid going down the gas well and coming back up and contaminating someone’s water well.”

– John Hanger, former Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (as seen in Truthland)

“I’ve yet to see a single impact of fracking actually directly communicating with fresh groundwater resources…Again and again and again, I never see a single incidence of fracking causing this direct communication that we keep hearing about.”

– Scott Perry, Director of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Management (June 28, 2011)

“We have never had any instance of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing — ever. For any fluid, frac fluid, to migrate up a mile, two miles to the water table is impossible. You are more likely to hit the moon with a Roman candle.”

– Elizabeth Ames Jones, Texas Railroad Commission (June 3, 2011)

“No verified or documented instances of harm to groundwater from HF [hydraulic fracturing].”

– Bob Anthony, Oklahoma Corporation Commission (March 30, 2011)

“Although an estimated 80,000 wells have been fractured in Ohio, state agencies have not identified a single instance where groundwater has been contaminated by hydraulic fracturing operations.”

– “Ohio Hydraulic Fracturing State Review,” State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, Inc. (January 2011)

“IOGCC member states have all stated that there have been no cases where hydraulic fracturing has been verified to have contaminated drinking water.”

– Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a multi-state organization of oil and gas regulators (IOGCC website)

“There have been no verified cases of harm to ground water in the State of Alaska as a result of hydraulic fracturing.”

– Cathy Foerster, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (2009)

“To the knowledge of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff, there has been no verified instance of harm to groundwater caused by hydraulic fracturing in Colorado.”

– David Neslin, former Director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (2009)

“The Louisiana Office of Conservation is unaware of any instance of harm to groundwater in the State of Louisiana caused by the practice of hydraulic fracturing.”

– James Welsh, Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation (2009)

“There is no indication that hydraulic fracturing has ever caused damage to ground water or other resources in Michigan. In fact, the OGS has never received a complaint or allegation that hydraulic fracturing has impacted groundwater in any way.”

– Harold Fitch, Director of the Michigan Office of Geological Survey (2009)

“In the 41 years that I have supervised oil and gas exploration, production and development in South Dakota, no documented case of water well or aquifer damage by the fracking of oil or gas wells, has been brought to my attention. Nor am I aware of any such cases before my time.”

– Fred Steece, former Oil and Gas Supervisor for the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (2009)

“We have had no reports of well damage due to fracking.”

– Paul Schmierbach, Environmental Program Manager for the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation (2009)


“You can’t save the forest if you don’t have gas. It’s one of the solutions we need to reduce deforestation and reduce the two million people who die every year because of indoor air pollution because they use firewood.”

Kandeh Yumkella, co-chair, United Nation’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (June 19, 2012)

“We didn’t find (anything) happening related to shale gas that called for draconian measures in terms of regulations or prohibitions.”

– Chip Groat, Director, Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin (March 12, 2012)

“There have been fears that hydraulic fracturing fluid injected at depth could reach up into drinking water aquifers. But, the injection is typically done at depths of around 6,000 to 7,000 feet and drinking water is usually pumped from shallow aquifers, no more than one or two hundred feet below the surface. Fracturing fluids have not contaminated any water supply and with that much distance to an aquifer, it is very unlikely they could.”

– Mark Zoback, Professor of Geophysics at Stanford University and member of the Secretary of Energy Committee on Shale Gas Development (August 30, 2011)

“As a New Yorker and hydrogeologist whose business is focused on protecting the environment, I am confident that Marcellus shale development in New York will not come at the expense of our water resources.”

– John Conrad, Senior Hydrogeologist for Conrad Geoscience Corporation (October 23, 2011)

“I have been working in hydraulic fracturing for 40+ years and there is absolutely no evidence hydraulic fractures can grow from miles below the surface to the fresh water aquifers.”

– Stephen A. Holditch , Head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University, Member of the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board Shale Gas Subcommittee (October 4, 2011)