Fracking is getting safer and should present no major environmental problems in New York when the state allows drilling to commence—that’s the headline from a university-funded study released today by the Shale Resources and Society Institute at the University of Buffalo.
A team of researchers from UB, University of Wyoming and Penn State University examined violations at almost 4,000 natural gas wells in Pennsylvania between January 2008 and August 2011. The peer-reviewed study found approximately two-thirds of the 3,000 violations were administrative, 38 percent were environmental, and only 25 were deemed “major,” defined as site restoration failures, serious contamination of water supplies, major land spills, blowouts and venting and gas migration.
The majority were “due to operator error, negligence, or a failure to follow proper procedures when drilling,” according to the report. “This suggests that the industry has room for improvement, and the frequency of environmental events can be reduced,” the authors wrote.