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Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Sep;124(9):1323-33. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1510547. Epub 2016 Feb 19.

Adequacy of Current State Setbacks for Directional High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing in the Marcellus, Barnett, and Niobrara Shale Plays.

Author information

1
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is an increasing awareness of the multiple potential pathways leading to human health risks from hydraulic fracturing. Setback distances are a legislative method to mitigate potential risks.

OBJECTIVES:

We attempted to determine whether legal setback distances between well-pad sites and the public are adequate in three shale plays.

METHODS:

We reviewed geography, current statutes and regulations, evacuations, thermal modeling, air pollution studies, and vapor cloud modeling within the Marcellus, Barnett, and Niobrara Shale Plays.

DISCUSSION:

The evidence suggests that presently utilized setbacks may leave the public vulnerable to explosions, radiant heat, toxic gas clouds, and air pollution from hydraulic fracturing activities.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results suggest that setbacks may not be sufficient to reduce potential threats to human health in areas where hydraulic fracturing occurs. It is more likely that a combination of reasonable setbacks with controls for other sources of pollution associated with the process will be required.

CITATION:

Haley M, McCawley M, Epstein AC, Arrington B, Bjerke EF. 2016. Adequacy of current state setbacks for directional high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus, Barnett, and Niobrara Shale Plays. Environ Health Perspect 124:1323-1333; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1510547.

PMID:
26895553
PMCID:
PMC5010420
DOI:
10.1289/ehp.1510547
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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