Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a process that uses fluids and other materials that are pumped under high pressure into gas-bearing rock formations in order to open fractures (cracks) to create a path for the gas to flow. The purpose of this bulletin is to:
- define the circumstances under which the EPA will assess proposals that include hydraulic fracturing;
- outline the EPA’s expectations for EIA with respect to hydraulic fracturing activities; and
- ensure that the EPA has sufficient information to undertake a thorough assessment of impacts and risks to the environment from proposals involving hydraulic fracturing.
The focus of this bulletin is on those activities and potential environmental impacts specifically related to hydraulic fracturing, which have not routinely been assessed by the EPA, and not on the broader range of environmental issues which may be associated with the development of gas resources from shale and tight rocks. This bulletin replaces advice issued in 2011 (EPB 15) and reflects how the regulation around the industry has evolved over the past few years.
The content of this advice has not been updated to reflect the EPA’s revised policy framework.