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Study Finds No Direct Link Between Fracking, Groundwater Contamination

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A Cabot Oil and Gas natural gas drill stands at a hydraulic fracturing site on Jan. 18, 2012 in South Montrose, Pa. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A Cabot Oil and Gas natural gas drill stands at a hydraulic fracturing site on Jan. 18, 2012 in South Montrose, Pa. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A University of Texas study says there’s no direct link between groundwater contamination and a controversial process to extract oil and gas known as fracking.

UT’s Energy Institute says contamination can occur due to spills above ground or mishandling of wastewater. But the institute argues that those problems are not caused directly by fracking.

Fracking involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open fissures and improve the flow of oil and gas to the surface. It’s used to improve productivity in gas reserves all over the U.S., including the Barnett Shale in North Texas.

An Energy Institute spokesman says no industry funds paid for the project. Fracking opponents say the study needs to be reviewed.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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