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Anti-fracking claims baseless

| Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

The Trib advises readers to submit fact-based letters. But an unfortunate exception was made July 23.

Not only was Ron Slabe's inflammatory letter claiming “fracking kills” and “epitomizes a culture of sickness and death” published in the Valley News Dispatch, the fact that the study he bases these claims on is seriously flawed was completely overlooked ( “Study links fracking, infant mortality” ).

The researchers didn't even bother to take water samples to support their conclusion that well-water radiation attributable to fracking is responsible for increased infant mortality in Pennsylvania. They also failed to consider any other potential factors, such as genetics, drug use, smoking or alcohol intake during pregnancy.

These flaws considered, it's no wonder the study was published in a widely known “pay to play” open-access journal, which was criticized by HowStuffWorks for publishing “studies regardless of whether they're credible and scientifically sound” and having “screening processes that are too weak to prevent a lot of dubious findings from getting into circulation.”

These are just a few reasons the study got zero media attention when it was released in April. Unfortunately, the study's baseless conclusion — and Slabe's anti-fracking fear-mongering — found a vehicle in the VND.

Jackie Stewart

Canfield, Ohio

The writer is state director for Energy In Depth (, an Independent Petroleum Association of America campaign.

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