Colorado top doctor: No, fracking won't poison us all

Colorado has a lot of natural resources, including oil and natural gas. This means that they have the usual crowd of environmentalists trying to make sure all of those resources stay in the ground, even if the property owners could really benefit from leasing their property’s mineral rights. This month the green contingent seemed to lose one of their biggest (though long since discredited) talking points about how fracking was going to make everyone sick. The chief medical officer of the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment sat down with one of the local newspapers to answer some questions and calmly informed everyone that the research was in and fracking wasn’t going to send them all to the hospital. (Daily Caller)

Colorado’s top medical official Dr. Larry Wolk told a local newspaper that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, doesn’t have any adverse health effects, as it doesn’t expose people to enough toxins to be harmful.

“Nobody would argue that this stuff isn’t toxic, but it’s all about exposure to toxins, and we don’t see anything to be concerned with at this point in time,” Wolk, the chief medical officer of the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment, told The Greeley Tribune.

Wolk, a practicing physician once voted Colorado’s pediatrician of the year, cited state health data to The Tribune that found the areas of Colorado with the most fracking don’t have higher rates of health conditions. In some cases, rates of health conditions are actually even lower than those reported where little or no fracking occurs.

The reason the good doctor isn’t concerned is not because he’s secretly some sort of oil baron. He’s just done his research. These questions have been pursued all around the country, but the original test bed for long term, hard data collection was in Pennsylvania. Energy companies there started a project several years ago in which they allowed inspectors to inject tracer fluids containing unique chemicals markers into their drilling fluid. These markers, while harmless to humans and the environment, are not found in nature, so if they turned up in somebody’s sink you would know immediately what was going on. The state then drilled test wells into the aquifer to monitor the ground water at various distances from the wells and began monitoring them. Years later not a single instance of those chemicals in the drinking water has been found.

Yes, you absolutely find natural gas and related substances in the water if you drill a well in rural Pennsylvania. That’s because much of the state is sitting on an ocean of oil and coal. (It’s why the state was home to some of the earliest energy exploration in the country.) The same results can be expected everywhere else, and Dr. Wolk is simply reporting to Colorado’s residents what science has already determined. Of course, that’s not going to make the liberals out there happy and I’ve no doubt they’ll continue protesting, science be damned.


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David Strom 8:41 PM on March 20, 2023