We told you last week that the EPA is abandoning an investigation that linked fracking chemicals with groundwater contamination in Wyoming. Amid controversy over that move, news about EPA delaying another fracking study got overlooked by most media.

In 2010, Congress ordered the EPA to look into the dangers posed to drinking water sources by hydraulic fracturing. That research was expected to be completed in 2014. But last Tuesday, an EPA official told attendees of a shale-gas conference in Cleveland, Ohio, that it wouldn’t be done until 2016.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The Akron Beacon Journal was one of the few outlets to cover the news:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is analyzing the threat that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, poses to drinking water, but that study won’t be completed until 2016.

That assessment came Tuesday from Jeanne Briskin, coordinator of hydraulic fracturing research at the EPA’s Office of Research and Development. …

Briskin said the EPA probably would complete and release a preliminary report in late 2014. It is “complex research,” she said. …

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Briskin outlined what her agency has done so far and the work that still must be completed. It is sampling water in two drilling counties in Pennsylvania plus in Colorado, North Dakota and Texas.

Nine energy companies and nine drilling-supply companies have cooperated with the EPA research, and 1,000 chemicals have been identified as being used in the fracking process, Briskin said.

The news follows an April announcement made by the EPA in the Federal Register that it was giving the public an extra six and a half months to submit information that could inform the agency’s study.

It’s nice that EPA is trying to be thorough with its research and is giving citizens more of a chance to contribute to the process. But considering how quickly fracking is spreading around the country, three more years is a long time to wait.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.