Today, Abrahm Lustgarten, the reporter with an admirable portfolio on energy subjects, updates one of ProPublica's major investigations:
"This was the year that "fracking" became a household word.
"It wasn't just that environmental concerns about the underground drilling process finally struck a mainstream chord -- after three years of reporting and more than 125 stories. For the first time, independent scientific investigations linked the drilling technique with water pollution, and a variety of federal and state agencies responded to the growing apprehension about water contamination with more studies and more regulation.
"The most important development -- and perhaps a crucial turning point -- was in December. In a landmark finding, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that hydraulic fracturing was the likely culprit in a spate of groundwater contamination that had forced residents to stop using their water in dozens of homes in central Wyoming. The agency had been investigating since 2008.
"Earlier in the year, a study published through the National Academy of Sciences determined that in Pennsylvania, private water wells in close proximity to fracked gas wells were 17 times more likely to be contaminated with methane gas.
"Those studies are separate from a national research project the EPA has undertaken to assess the risks fracking poses to water resources..."
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