Fracking Update

I thought of using a tongue-in-cheek title, “The Science is Settled: Fracking Doesn’t Endanger Groundwater.” A recent Denver Post editorial titled “More study, same result on fracking” had a subtitle “Hydraulic fracturing isn’t poisoning water supplies.” I commend the Post for the content of the editorial and the fact they even recognize the actual name of the technology is “hydraulic fracturing.” I believe “fracking” has been substituted by opponents of the process because it sounds “dirty.” Getting my personal opinions out of the way early, I also believe the reason for the continued assault on the process is based on the fact that it has resulted in an abundance of relatively inexpensive natural gas. The “dream children” of anti-oil and gas activists want (completely unrealistically) the only source of energy to be wind and solar. Inexpensive natural gas has gotten in the way of that dream. Inexpensive natural gas that also has reduced the United States totals of carbon dioxide emissions, and oponents are willing to do anything they can to vilify hydraulic fracturing. That starts with giving the process a “dirty” name.

I recommend reading the entire Post editorial, which says studies by Yale University and Colorado State University both found no evidence of groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing. There was the finding of the inevitable contamination of surface spills and methane seepage in two percent of the wells from compromised well casings. The comment about methane reminded me of a friend who asked about the videos on the Internet that shows people lighting their well water and equating it to hydraulic fracturing. Those have been debunked as evidence people have drilled their wells into natural gas pockets that are around coal seams. Of course natural gas from those pockets will burn, but the opponents of hydraulic fracturing don’t seem to care that their claim is bogus. Once on the Internet, always on the Internet, regardless of accuracy.

The closing paragraph of the editorial that inspired this commentary refers to the evidence that hydraulic fracturing hasn’t been shown to cause groundwater contamination and the resistance to that information from opponents. “Such reports haven’t seemed to matter to the green anti-fracking groups that continue to trumpet the alleged dangers to drinking water from oil and gas drilling. But the reports at least ought to reassure the public, which is often caught between wildly divergent claims over fracking, on this one area of bitter contention.”

It is a great editorial, and you should click on the link if you are interested in the subject. I especially suggest that for those who have been influenced to be “anti-fracking.” I don’t expect to change your mind, but perhaps you will intelligently begin to consider that the “science has been settled that fracking is not evil.” As a closing note, I detest the term, “the science is settled.” Science never stops evaluating evidence regardless of the subject.

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