Sunday, January 17, 2016

234.6 - EPA board challenges EPA report on fracking

EPA board challenges EPA report on fracking

Next up, we have some news regarding fracking.

Fracking is - well, the polite term is controversial; the less-polite term is another industry scam to maximize profit without giving a damn about the effect on people's health.

Fracking, in case you're not familiar with it, is a means of increasing production from oil and natural gas wells by pumping a mix of water, sludge, and one of several different cocktails of toxic chemicals - we don't know exactly what ones because the mixtures are considered a "trade secret" which the companies do not have to reveal - pumping that mixture into a well under such pressure that it literally fractures the surrounding rock, allowing more fossil fuel to be extracted from the fissures created. The practice has been connected to contaminated water supplies and earthquakes, particularly in the past few years.

Congress charged the EPA with studying the impacts of fracking on drinking water. This past June, the agency released its report, including an executive summary that declared that fracking has not led to "widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the US," a conclusion that at the time I described as chock full of weasel words, especially since fracking itself is not "widespread."

Now, it develops, the EPA's own Science Advisory Board, which reviews the agency’s major studies, agrees with me. The 31-member panel determined that
[m]ajor findings are ambiguous or are inconsistent with the observations/data presented in the body of the report.
The point lies in the misuse of the terms "widespread" and "systemic." Yes, most US water supplies have not been affected by fracking - because fracking is not done in most places in the US, only where drilling for oil and natural gas are going on.

In those places where fracking is being done, yes, there has clearly been an impact on local water supplies, the result, in part, of an average of 15 fracking-related chemical spills per day in the US.

But what did the media glom onto? The fracking-friendly "no widespread, systemic, impacts." Another example of how we are uninformed, malinformed, and misinformed by major mainstream media.

As a footnote, 2015 was also the year that the US Geological Survey found that fracking in eight states in the eastern and central US had lead to "sharply increased" earthquake activity and the state of OK, after dragging its feet for years, finally admitted that the majority of the recent astonishing increase in earthquakes in the state were due to fracking.

Fracking should be stopped.

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