The EPA has released initial findings from ground water testing in the Pavillion, WY area. Pavillion residents have complained of contaminated drinking water wells for many years, suspecting fracture drilling, or fracking, is causing contamination.
The EPA results can be found here. Their interpretation of these results should be forth coming in the next few weeks. In the meantime the results are available for all interested parties. The effects of fracking are also of critical interest in the Marcellus Shale formation in New York and Pennsylvania.
Fracking promises to deliver millions of barrels of oil and gas, and according to this article in the Financial Times, could even make the US independent of foreign oil. However, we have to get a handle on the long term consequences of this technique. We don’t want to end up trading the oil production at the cost of our drinking water.
For an overview of fracking see this Scientific American article, where it is explained that groundwater reserves and oil and gas reserves, although separated by thousands of vertical feet, may be connected by natural and man made fractures.