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Top Morning Stories 2/17/12: Fracking and Groundwater, $90 Million More for F1 Track

An image from the UT Energy Institute's report on fracking.
Image courtesy Chesapeake Energy
An image from the UT Energy Institute's report on fracking.

UT Study Says Fracking Doesn’t Directly Contaminate Groundwater

A new report by the University of Texas at Austin released this week says there’s no direct link between groundwater contamination and hydraulic fracturing – a controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil from shale formations.

The research was done by UT's Energy Institute. The report’s authors say contamination is often the result of above ground spills or mishandling of wasterwater, but not caused directly by fracking. 

Fracking involves blasting water, mixed with sand and chemicals, underground to fracture rock and improve the flow of natural gas and oil. The practice is used at the North Texas Barnett Shale.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is also studying the environmental effects fracking may have on groundwater. Its preliminary results differ from the UT study.

Circuit of the Americas Gets $90 More Million

Austin’s Formula One racetrack will see a $90-million boost in funding, bringing the total number of investments to roughly $200 million.

A recent filing with the Security and Exchanges Commission shows that 17 investors gave money to Circuit of the Americas, the 3.4-mile racetrack set to open in southeast Austin.

According to the filing, funding will be used for “general capital working purposes” and not go towards paying executive officers, directors or promoters.

Circuit of Americas will host a Formula One Grand Prix on Nov. 18.

Texas Campaign Confusion over Primary Date

Texas state Senate maps were finalized this week after a long protracted court battle on the state’s redistricting process. But House and Congressional district maps are still up in the air. KUT's Andy Uhler reports on how district line confusion is affecting planning for campaigns.

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