The Science Is Not In Line With The Objections

Using fracking to get natural gas from the earth has been controversial. It shouldn’t be–there is no scientific evidence that it causes any more problems than conventional drilling. There have also been articles in various media pointing to the fact that much of the anti-fracking literature and media in the United States is sponsored by either Russia or Saudi Arabia. Both of those countries have a vested interest in preventing America from becoming energy independent.

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today about fracking. The article was actually about the possibility that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would run for President in 2020, but the article contained some interesting information about fracking.

The article reported:

The scientific case against all the anti-fracking claims of the environmental/Hollywood left continues to collapse more fully than an undercooked soufflé. The latest piece of evidence is a report from Resources for the Future, a centrist environmental group that is one of the oldest environmental organizations in the country, founded way back in 1947 by Fairfield Osborn, who was actually a Malthusian alarmist, thus making today’s RFF a curiosity in that is perhaps the only environmental organization that moved away from the left over its history.

RFF has conducted a thorough review of the academic literature on the health effects of unconventional oil and gas production (which mostly means fracking) and passes along these key findings:

  • We review 32 studies that cover health impacts such as birth outcomes, cancers, asthma, and other health effects, including migraines and hospitalization.
  • We find that though many epidemiological studies used robust statistical methods to estimate changes in health outcomes associated with unconventional oil and gas development, all had weaknesses and many had significant shortcomings.
  • Due to the nature of the data and research methodologies, the studies are unable to assess the mechanisms of any health impacts (i.e., whether a certain impact is caused by air pollution, stress, water pollution, or another burden).
  • Even where good evidence is offered for a link between unconventional oil and gas development and health, the causal factor(s) driving this association are unclear.
  • Though we do not see strong evidence of impacts in the literature, a lack of data or rigorous analysis does not rule out the potential for any effects.

I know that there have been reported instances of polluted water in areas where fracking was done. However, in many cases, water pollution goes back to the time in America when factories, tanneries, and other industries were not closely monitored. There is a strong possibility that much of the water pollution attributed to fracking is actually the result of prior manufacturing or tanning practices in those areas. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated certain areas in the U.S. as Superfund Sites. I am sure that there are many more that have not yet been designated. Water pollution is a problem in certain areas of America and has been for a long time before fracking came along. It is to our advantage to monitor the fracking industry carefully to make sure it does not add to our pollution problems. It is also to our advantage to do what we can to clean up the pollution problems caused by lax standards in the past.