The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the first time has implicated hydraulic fracturing — a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells — for causing groundwater pollution.

The EPA’s findings add fuel to a growing movement to protect watersheds and communities statewide.

This past week, the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council became one of the latest groups to plead formally for protection from the gas drilling procedure, also called hydrofracking, which involves blasting chemical-laced water into the ground. The council consists of leaders representing the 14 municipalities dependent on Canandaigua Lake for their drinking water.

“Based on the current technology of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and the proposed regulations, we believe that this method of drilling for natural gas poses unacceptable risks to the lifeblood of this region,” the council stated in a detailed letter to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens.

Ontario County Watershed Manager Kevin Olvany said the letter signed by the council urges the DEC to look to the EPA’s national comprehensive study on the impact of fracking. The study is due to be completed by the end of 2012.

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