Studies by the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC), an association of state regulators, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of current state regulations in protecting water resources. When the GWPC studied the environmental risk of hydraulic fracturing, they found one complaint in the more than 10,000 coalbed methane wells reviewed – an Alabama well where problems were not related to fracturing according to the EPA. The EPA initiated its own study of environmental risks from coalbed methane hydraulic fracturing and, again, no significant environmental risks as a result of proper hydraulic fracturing were identified.
The key word in the preceding sentence, of course, is proper. Although there is some variability in the details of well construction because of varying geologic, environmental, and operational settings, the basic practices in constructing a reliable well are similar. These practices are the result of operators gaining knowledge based on years of experience and technology development and improvement.