Water protected from fracking, British agencies say

Strong regulatory regime in place for fledgling shale sector.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   July 3, 2014 at 9:15 AM
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LONDON, July 3 (UPI) -- No hydraulic fracturing will be allowed if it poses a threat to groundwater and drinking water supplies, a British environmental director said Thursday.

The British Geological Survey and the nation's Environment Agency published mapping data Thursday that show where shale oil and natural gas reserves are located in relation to principle groundwater aquifers.

Alwyn Hart, director of air, land and water research at the agency, said drinking water is an important British natural resource that deserves protection.

"We have strong regulatory controls in place to protect groundwater, and will not permit activity that threatens groundwater and drinking water supplies," he said in a statement.

BGS last year estimated the Bowland shale formation in the north of the country contains 1.3 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas. Hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling practice dubbed fracking, is in its infancy in the country.

The British government has said the economy needs to rely more on domestic energy reserves like shale gas for national security's sake.

BGS said in its joint statement with the Environment Agency it will not allow fracking to go forward if it is too close to drinking water or uses fracking fluid chemicals hazardous to groundwater supplies.

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