Fracking opponents promoting a political agenda, not science

EPA study found no link between fracking and widespread water contamination

fracking

Fracking has occurred in over 1 million wells in the US in the past 65 years.

After years of study and research, the Environmental Protection Agency finally released its comprehensive report on hydraulic fracturing and drinking water. It found no evidence linking fracking with “widespread, systemic” water contamination.

It’s likely that some of the regulators at the EPA hated to admit that fracking deserves an environmental stamp of approval. During the past few years, they have done virtually everything in their power to find groundwater contamination and blame it on fracking. Their goal: Justify new federal regulations that can be imposed on top of state fracking regulations.

But the EPA’s ham-handed efforts have been embarrassing failures. Consider the Pavillion, Wyo., tests. The EPA drilled two test wells to search for fracking fluids in underground aquifers. The agency claimed to find traces of glycols and other chemicals associated with fracking but had to abandon the test results because their study’s methodology was flawed.

The U.S. Geological Survey tried to replicate the EPA’s results but found only very slight traces of other chemicals, which likely were introduced into the water samples by paint on the monitoring equipment or put into the wells possibly from the cement the EPA used in the drilling process.

The EPA also got plenty of help from Hollywood, which tried to frighten people about fracking. Who can forget Josh Fox’s movies “Gasland” and “Gasland 2,” which have been completely discredited. Add to that Matt Damon’s movie “Promised Land,” which was a flop in theaters. And then there is Yoko Ono, who paraded throughout eastern Pennsylvania and produced a music video called “Don’t Frack My Mother.”

Also discredited are the complaints of homeowners who claim fracking has made their tap water ignite. In one of the cases, a Texas homeowner shot a video of methane gas burning at the end of a pipe, blaming fracking for polluting his water. After conducting an investigation, his claim was dismissed by state regulators.

The dishonesty fomented by the anti-fracking movement was encouraged by people and groups with a political agenda. To them, fossil fuels should be left in the ground and not used to heat homes, power businesses, or move cars, trucks, trains and ships. How they figure our country would continue to survive is a mystery.

Renewables such as wind and solar power cannot meet our overall energy needs. We need liquid fuels for transportation, and we need a steady flow of electricity for heat, lights and communication devices. Wind and solar provide intermittent power and require back-up power systems. With the government phasing out coal, natural gas is likely to become the energy source of choice.

Plus, U.S. drilling investments, including fracking, can be credited with lifting the United States out of the Great Recession. In 2011, 2.1 million jobs were supported by drilling operations including fracking and horizontal drilling, and that number could rise to 3.9 million by 2025.

In recent months, about 100,000 oil and gas workers have been furloughed or laid off due to low energy prices. In time, those well-paying jobs will come back, but only if the government encourages energy development.

That’s not likely to happen. The EPA is planning to issue federal fracking rules soon because, as its report says, “There are potential vulnerabilities in the water lifecycle that could impact drinking water.” I also could crash my car today, but that does not mean I need another layer of regulations and more boxes to check on a government form before driving. Human error makes anything potentially hazardous. Under these stifling conditions, we will have great difficulty building a prosperous future for this nation.

Fracking has occurred in more than 1 million U.S. wells in the past 65 years. In recent years, most drilling and fracking has occurred on private land where property owners are in the best position to know whether it has been conducted safely. In a 2014 survey, more than 90 percent of royalty owners said they would lease their land to drilling companies again if given the opportunity.

Those who cling to the lie that fracking is not safe should be recognized for what they are — people with a political agenda who are willing to see America weakened, not strengthened.

Keith Mauck, J.D., is publisher of GoMarcellusShale.com, GoHaynesvilleShale.com and EagleFordForum.com. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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