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Monday, March 23, 2015

Anti-Fracking Studies Singled Out as Junk Science

From TheHill:
In her piece, Gibbs rehashes the discredited talking points of environmental activists who reflexively oppose any oil and natural gas production. 
As just one example, she claims a report from the Colorado School of Public Health “found air pollutants near fracking sites at levels sufficient to raise risks for cancer,” among other ailments, especially among pregnant women. But Gibbs failed to acknowledge that the study was swiftly condemned after its release. 
Larry Wolk, director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health, issued a statement warning expectant mothers “not to rely on this study as an explanation of why one of their children might have had a birth defect. Many factors known to contribute to birth defects were ignored in this study.” 
As is typical among anti-energy activists, Gibbs employs vague language to stoke unfounded fears. She says, “fracking fluids can be incredibly dangerous.” But anything “can be dangerous” in theory—you can get into an accident driving your car or overdose from drinking too much water. Gibbs’ framing sheds no light on the degree of risk involved in energy development. 
All energy sources carry a degree of risk, but science and experience consistently show that hydraulic fracturing poses minimal risks and offers substantial rewards. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, for instance, explains, “When properly conducted, modern fracing is a safe, sophisticated, highly engineered and controlled procedure.” Officials from Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, California and elsewhere, including the Obama administration, have reached similar conclusions
Gibbs’ other tactic is to try and pass off studies funded by agenda-driven environmental groups as dispassionate science. Take the “analysis” from the Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy. Gibbs fires off bullet points hyping “potential risks or adverse health outcomes” from hydraulic fracturing, but fails to disclose that this group is funded by the left-wing Park Foundation, which bankrolls a variety of anti-energy causes. The group also signed a “pledge of resistance” to hydraulic fracturing along with radical activists such as Bill McKibben and Josh Fox.
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