The Duke study could help Pennsylvania to focus on a real problem--gas migration--and to have further reassurance that frack fluids are not coming back from depth and polluting water wells and ground water.
Frack fluids have not returned from depth anywhere in Pennsylvania and polluted one, single water well. That is a fact.
Frack fluids have been spilled at the surface and have caused minor impacts that have been cleaned up and paid for by the companies responsible.
But gas migrating from poorly designed or constructed gas wells is a real problem. It is a problem that existed prior to the first Marcellus well. And it is a problem with some Marcellus wells.
The problem is concentrated in Bradford, Tioga, and Susquehanna counties where the geology is challenging. The new gas drilling rules that were proposed in 2009 and became effective on February 5th, 2011 enable DEP to move forward with additional measures to prevent gas migration in "areas of concern." DEP began doing so in September 2010, even before the regulations became final and should keep doing so.
Hopefully the partisans who insist that gas drilling is polluting all water sources or who insist it is causing no problems could look at the Duke study again or other data that confirm we don't have a problem with frack fluids returning from depth to pollute water but do have a problem with gas migrating and contaminating water wells.
We must pay attention to the real problems and issues.