EPA: Remember all that horrible stuff we said about fracking? Yeah... never mind

The Environmental Protection Agency has finished a draft copy of a long awaited study on fracking and its impact (or lack thereof) on drinking water. The folks in the green energy community who have been pushing for bans on the practice for years now are up in arms already because the results were precisely what they didn’t want to hear. The alarmist have been pedaling bogus science for quite a while now.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s long-awaited report on fracking dismayed liberal green groups Thursday while pleasing the oil and gas industry — the latest episode in both sides’ fraught relationship with President Barack Obama.

The study, more than four years in the making, said the EPA has found no signs of “widespread, systemic” drinking water pollution from hydraulic fracturing. That conclusion dramatically runs afoul of one of the great green crusades of the past half-decade, which has portrayed the oil- and gas-extraction technique as a creator of fouled drinking water wells and flame-shooting faucets.

Thursday’s congressionally mandated EPA report, a compilation of past studies, found isolated incidents in which water pollution was attributable to the use of fracking. But it failed to back up the idea that fracking poses a major threat to water supplies, contradicting years of activists’ warnings dramatized by images of burning tap water in the Oscar-nominated documentary “Gasland.”

Of course, the people who constantly remind us that the Republicans are the anti-science party were quick to make it clear that they have zero interest in any science which doesn’t agree with their predefined narrative.

“This study’s main finding flies in the face of fracking’s dangerous reality,” Rachel Richardson, director of Environment America’s Stop Drilling program, said in a statement. “The fact is, dirty drilling has caused documented, widespread water contamination across the country.”

Anyone who has been reading this site for a while now doesn’t need a lengthy trip down memory lane on this one. As with most things in the real world, there is some truth to be found on both sides. Fracking isn’t 100% foolproof and there have been scattered incidents of both surface spills of fracking fluid (which has occasionally run off into small streams) and back pressure blowouts at the well head when a particularly hot pocket gets hit. All industrial activity carries risk, but the industry continues to improve safeguards and limit such incidents.

By the same token, the rumors of massive ground water contamination have been put to rest. Chemical markers voluntarily injected into the drilling fluid have been pumped into the wells in Pennsylvania for years now and the EPA has been testing the ground water and never found one of them. It’s true that people in rural areas have had natural gas in their well water, but that’s been a fact of life going back as long as anyone can remember. When you live on top of massive, shallow hydrocarbon reserves and drill a well into the ground, sometimes you’re going to hit gas.

But I don’t expect this to roll back the bans currently in place in New York and other liberal enclaves. Nor do I expect something like a long term scientific study by Obama’s own EPA to quiet the liberals in Congress. They’ll keep insisting that it’s dangerous regardless of the evidence thrust in their face because it’s very good politics to do so and their base expects it.

As a somewhat amusing side story, if you happened to be watching Morning Joe today, Scarborough covered this story briefly around 6:45. (The clip isn’t up yet, but you may find it later here.) He wasn’t dealing with the EPA report itself so much, but rather the fact that the New York Times has no visible coverage of the story. After hammering on the dangers of fracking on their front page for years on end, this story seemed to be MIA. Joe sat and painfully turned through one page of the paper after another, finding nothing until they finally went to the commercial break.

Ah… the New York Times. All the news that fit to print if they think you need to see it.