On January 7, EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) released a 133-page draft report recommending EPA soften its “landmark” findings that hydraulic fracking does not lead to “widespread, systematic impacts on drinking water resources in the U.S.” This rebuttal comes on the tail of similar studies finding that hydraulic fracking does not contaminate drinking water.

The board, formed by a peer group of scientists, did not attack the method EPA used to reach its ultimate conclusion, only the final conclusion.

“The SAB is . . . concerned that this statement does not reflect the [lack of evidence], uncertainties and data limitations described in the body of the Report associated with such impacts” to justify a conclusion that fracking poses no hazard to drinking water in the U.S.

This attack on EPA’s report and not its method is raising questions about potential political motivations.

“Any demands by environmentalists, or EPA’s Science Advisory Board, to revise this key finding are politically motivated and contrary to scientific consensus from peer reviewed studies,” stated Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

These recommendations by SAB are not final.  The peer-review board must meet four more times between now and March for further discussion, and regardless, EPA holds the power to determine whether SAB’s recommendations should be implemented in EPA’s report.

Follow the Hydraulic Fracking Blog for continuous updates on the developments in this story.