From Green Right Now Reports

People who want to know more about how hydraulic fracturing in the natural gas industry might affect drinking water, can attend EPA meetings in July in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania and New York.

These states have witnessed increases in natural gas drilling, as oil and gas companies tap stores thousands of feet beneath the surface in areas such as the Marcellus Shale in New York and the Barnett Shale in Texas.

The drilling has raised concerns in many areas about the health risks around fracking, especially in communities that have endured gas explosions and the contamination of wells near drill sites.

The four public meetings hosted by EPA officials will explain the fracking process in which drillers blast into subsurface rock with water and chemicals and sand to release gas stores.  The meetings also will provide information about the EPA’s study into fracking to assess the human and environmental effects of this practice. The public can also register comments at the meetings.

Public fears about fracturing have focused on the toxicity of the chemicals used in fracking, as its known, and how they might mingle with and affect drinking water. Questions also have been raised about the dangers of the waste water generated by the process and the air emissions of natural gas drilling, which has crept closer to urban development in many places.

The chemicals used in fracturing were exempted from public disclosure during the Bush Administration by a law known as the Halliburton Loophole, so named because that company argued that the toxic brew blasted into the earth was a proprietary trade formula.

The public meetings will be held on:

  • July 8 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT at the Hilton Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas
  • July 13 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. MDT at the Marriot Tech Center’s Rocky Mountain Events Center in Denver, Colo.
  • July 22 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT at the Hilton Garden Inn in Canonsburg, Pa.
  • August 12 at the Anderson Performing Arts Center at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. for 3 sessions – 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT

The hearings will help the EPA shape its study. Those interested in attending should pre-register at http://www.epa.gov/safewater .

Find out more at the EPA website.