After a four year investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a report on fracking’s effect on drinking water. According to The New York Times, while there is the potential for contamination resulting from its techniques, the agency found no evidence that fracking has had a widespread effect on the US’ drinking water. There were specific instances of contamination cited, but they were small compared to number of oil wells used in fracking.
The research the agency used to come to its conclusion was very thorough. Here is the methodology the EPA used to come to their conclusions as outlined by The New York Times:
In conducting the study, the agency evaluated more than 3,500 previously published reports, studies and data sources, including articles published in science and engineering journals; and reports by federal and state governments, nongovernmental organizations and industry groups.
The agency also conducted additional scientific research, resulting in more than 20 peer-reviewed reports and papers. The draft report will now be made available for public comment and peer review by an independent board of scientists before being finalized.
The study estimates that 25,000 to 30,000 new wells were drilled and hydraulically fractured annually from 2011 to 2014, and concludes that fracking took place in at least 25 states from 1990 to 2013. It found that from 2000 to 2013, approximately 9.4 million people lived within one mile of a fracked well.
What is more, approximately 6,800 sources of drinking water from public water systems were located within one mile of at least one hydraulically fractured well during the same period. These sources provided drinking water to more than 8.6 million people in 2013.
This study’s findings are good news for the oil industry but it has not stopped fracking opponents from grasping for straws. Politico reports environmentalists are already trying to seize on the risks cited in the study as being evidence that fracking is dangerous. For example, the National Resources Defense Council is already citing the small amount of cases of contamination as documented cases of fracking contaminating ground water while claiming that the oil and gas industry’s rhetoric has changed to acknowledging problems with the drilling method. The Executive Director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune, is quoted by The Times as saying that the EPA’s findings confirm that oil and gas hydraulic fracturing contaminates drinking water.
This is the moral evil that environmentalists subscribe to. They point to the risks involved as evidence of wrong doing or that because a research piece’s findings are not perfect that it is indication that something is wrong. The average person understands there are trade offs when it comes to making decisions. In the case of fracking, the EPA’s findings show the benefits outweigh the risks. If environmentalists were to concede the agency’s findings it would ruin their credibility as well as dry up their money making racket of ripping off donors. Groups like the National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club are diametrically against any kind of human progress. To environmentalists and the political Left when facts go against their perceived logic they will ignore them since to the political Left the only facts are that which fit their narrative.