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Report Shows Potential Fracking Problems

Joe Moore
Valley Public Radio
file photo

A new report out  Thursday says regulations for the process known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" need to be tightened to prevent environmental problems.  And, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, new legislation could emerge to do just that.

The peer-reviewed study from the California Council on Science and Technology was required as part of fracking legislation the state passed in 2013. 

Jane Long was a lead author on the report. She says there’s no evidence of direct negative impacts on health or groundwater. But she says agencies haven’t been looking for such impacts. And she says there’s a lot still unknown about the chemicals involved.

Long: “We should know what they are. We should know what their environmental characteristics are. We only know the toxicity for example for about two-thirds of the chemicals that are used. A third of them we have no toxicity information.”

The report finds fracking waste water is often not tested for chemicals and could potentially lead to contamination.

The author of the 2013 fracking legislation says she’ll incorporate some of the report’s recommendations into legislation she’s working on now.