What the Frack?
New EPA head Lisa Jackson is taking another look at the natural gas industry's policy of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." Fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals into crevices deep in the ground to push out natural gas. Regulation of this process was exempted in 2005 from the Safe Drinking Water Act, leaving frack monitoring up to the states, who lack the EPA's resouces.
Since then, fracking has been found responsible for contaminating well water, filling a basement with methane and blowing up a house in Ohio, and poisoning 17 cows in Louisiana. Some 35,000 wells are fracked each year, according to hydraulic fracturing pioneer Halliburton.
Under the new administration, Jackson said the EPA will "review the risk that fracturing poses to drinking water in light of various cases across the country that raise questions."