Environmental Group Calls for Fracking Ban in New Report

Clare Foran

Environment America, a group of state-based environmental advocacy organizations, released a report Thursday called "Fracking by the Numbers," which quantifies damage done by fracking across the United States.

According to the report, fracking operations in the U.S. generated 280 billion gallons of toxic waste water in 2012. The report also found that, since 2005, fracking has used 250 billion gallons of fresh water, degraded 360,000 acres, and released 100 million metric tons of global warming pollutants into the atmosphere.

In August, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management ended the public comment period on a proposed rule to regulate fracking on federal and Indian lands. BLM has not yet said when it expects to finalize the rule.

During a phone call with reporters, however, John Rumpler, a senior attorney for Environment America, said that the regulations are not enough. Instead, he said, the administration should ban hydraulic fracturing altogether.

"The numbers on fracking add up to an environmental nightmare. Constructing a regulatory regime sufficient to protect our water and our health ... seems implausible at best," Rumpler said, adding: "At the end of the day, protecting our environment and public health will require a ban on fracking."

Katie Brown, a spokesperson for Energy in Depth, a pro-oil and gas-drilling group, called the findings baseless. "Environment America's latest report simply repackages tired and thoroughly debunked claims. The actual numbers show that natural gas and hydraulic fracturing are slashing air pollution, rapidly reducing greenhouse gases, and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs," she said in a statement.