Mixed Conclusions in EPA Fracking Report

EPA3A CBS news article says the Environmental Protection Agency's latest report on fracking "raises more questions than answers." The report concludes, "EPA found scientific evidence that hydraulic fracturing activities can impact drinking water resources under some circumstances. The report identifies certain conditions under which impacts from hydraulic fracturing activities can be more frequent or severe."

However, the abstract also includes, "Data gaps and uncertainties limited EPA's ability to fully assess the potential impacts on drinking water resources locally and nationally. Because of these data gaps and uncertainties, it was not possible to fully characterize the severity of impacts, nor was it possible to calculate or estimate the national frequency of impacts on drinking water resources from activities in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle."

Although detailed conclusions may fall short, the agency is trying to make the message accessible by providing a few versions. The website provides a list of all communications related to the study. A fact sheet provides a visual of the fracking process and gives an overview of the findings and how the report can be used.


  • Which principles from Chapter 10 in the text does the report follow? Which are not followed?
  • How do you assess the findings? How does the report affect your thinking about fracking?
  • To what extent do you find the fact sheet useful? How does it fall short?