The Stream, February 23: New Report Adds Fuel to Fracking Debate

A new study by the University of Texas Energy Institute has found no evidence that hydraulic fracturing is contaminating groundwater, Voice of America reported. According to the report, many problems associated with fracking are related to processes common to all gas and drilling operations, such as drill casing failures, yet more science is needed to assess the long-term impact.

Meanwhile, a U.S. judge has ruled that small towns in New York have the authority to ban gas drilling — including hydraulic fracturing — within their borders.

Australian gas company Santos will spend $20 million to fix the environmental damage in New South Wales from unreported leaks of contaminated water at coal seam gas projects operated by a firm it took over last year, Reuters reported.

Wheat crops in England need rain by April to avoid potential yield losses, Bloomberg News reported, citing the chief crop adviser at the U.K. National Farmers Union.

Food and water are running low in the besieged Syrian city of Homs, according to the South African Press Association.

A planet of hot ice? Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a new planet: a “water-world” with a dense atmosphere of water steam, the BBC reported. The planet is a so-called “Super Earth” — it is bigger than the Earth, but smaller than gas giants such as Jupiter.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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