The headline flew around the globe like wild fire. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published their long-awaited draft fracking drinking water study and concluded: fracking has had no widespread impact on drinking water. But if you’ve had your ear to the ground in fracking communities, something didn’t sit right with the EPA’s takeaway. Though the gas industry claims fracking is safe and doesn’t harm drinking water, that story doesn’t match what many landowners report from the fracking fields.

At least in Pennsylvania, the reason for this discrepancy comes down to a singular issue: mismanaged record-keeping and reporting by the Department of the Environment (DEP).

In May 2014, Pennsylvania’s Auditor General reviewed DEP complaint files and reported eight areas of mishandling with “sloppy record keeping” topping the list. 

When asked if the public’s health was being threatened from fracking water contamination, Pennsylvania’s Auditor General publicly commented, “we can’t say one way or the other because their [DEP] record keeping is so poor.”

Read more: Ecowatch, February 4, 2016

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