ShareThis Page

Fracking fear vs. facts

| Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

Larry Borowiec's recent letter ( “Activist hit nerve” ) is right — it does strike a nerve that activists continue to use a deeply flawed study to push the narrative that fracking kills babies.

The tactic, which was used by Ron Slabe in a recent letter ( “Study links fracking, infant mortality” ) and supported by Borowiec's letter, didn't sit too well with environmental group Resources for the Future, either. RFF recently noted that because of “problematic methodology” — most of these studies notably fail to control for other factors that might affect infant mortality rates — the study fails to prove causationthe study fails to prove causation.

Notably, a recent RFF report showed this to be a common flaw in most health studies that blame fracking for ailments, finding that they don't “provide strong evidence regarding specific health impacts.” Out of 32 prominent studies evaluated by RFF, none were found to be “high quality” and several on birth defects and childhood cancers were categorized as “low quality.”

In contrast, more than a dozen studies based on actual production-site emissions show fracking is protective of public health, while more than 28 scientific studies have shown fracking is not a major threat to drinking water.

So yes, Slabe's letter did strike a nerve — mainly because it perpetuates fear over facts.

Jackie Stewart

Canfield, Ohio

The writer is state director for Energy In Depth (energyindepth.org), the education and research program of the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.