Not that anyone in the anti-energy community will pay attention to this, but the debate over hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and energy extraction in general has delivered another blow to the Green Energy crew. In fact, several of the most commonly repeated stories about the health hazards associated with the oil and gas energy have turned out to be “claims masquerading as science.”
[Dr. Dan Hill, head and professor and Noble Chair of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A & M University] cited a study in Colorado, which alleged that people who live within a half mile of a natural gas well are at higher risk of cancer. That study was later criticized by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for it flawed methodology and was eventually decommissioned by the Garfield County Commissioners in Colorado.
Similarly, some residents of Flower Mound, Texas (north of Fort Worth) suspected that breast cancers were linked to increased drilling. After extensive investigation by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the Texas Cancer Registry, and Susan G. Komen for the cure in Dallas all said there is no evidence of an increase in cancers. The Texas Department of State Health Services also found no connection between natural gas production and cancer in 2014.
In order to appreciate the impact of these results, do a Google search on Flower Mound, Texas and Fracking. This case has taken on legendary status among fracking opponents. It brought the phrase cancer cluster to national prominence and fueled the opposition to hydraulic fracturing in the liberal media for years. It was accepted as gospel that the incidence rate of cancers must be higher and, even in the absence of any evidence of a causal relationship, that it must have been caused by fracking. However we now see groups including Komen for the Cure saying that there was no increase and no relationship.
As a side note, Komen for the Cure was the same group at the center of the “pink fracking” segment of The Daily Show which I appeared on. Liberals were outraged that Komen would accept charitable donations from a company involved in the process because it caused cancer. Komen probably had more cause than most to accept this as true, but one study after another has failed to support that theory.
There are potential risks associated with every industrial endeavor undertaken by man, and we absolutely need to learn all we can and do whatever is possible to mitigate those risks. But while remaining cautious, we also need to be guided by good science and not what is politically convenient for a cause. In this case, the story being told by fracking opponents continues to fall apart.