Thursday, August 2, 2012

Is Fracking An Environmental Justice Issue?

Hydraulic fracturing may be one of the top environmental controversies of the moment -- but is it also an environmental justice problem?

It is one of the most high-profile questions facing the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council and a debate that highlights the difficulty in drawing a clear line on what qualifies as an EJ issue.

Earlier this week, the council put the question to Nancy Stoner, U.S. EPA's acting assistant administrator for water. Her office recently released draft guidance on the extraction process, interpreting requirements for wells in which diesel fuel is used in fracking fluid.

Fracking affects the rural poor -- who qualify under the environmental justice definition of a community overburdened with environmental hazards. It is an issue of grave importance in a lot of rural areas to the rural poor and particularly people who rely on well water for their drinking water.  (E&E Publishing, 7/27/2012)

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