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Editorials

The fracking debate: A call for honesty

| Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, 9:00 p.m.

Junk science long has been endemic to the debate over “climate change” (ne “global warming). And it appears to have fully infiltrated the debate on fracking as well.

A study released last week by a group of six researchers, according to them, “provides evidence that (hydraulic fracturing used to extract natural gas from shale) is associated with nasal and sinus, migraine headache, and fatigue symptoms in a general population representative sample.”

Pennsylvania residents with the highest exposure to active fracking “are nearly twice as likely” to suffer from such symptoms, they claim.

But a pro-industry group, Energy In Depth (EID), says the research is flawed. And it alleges bias by one of the researchers, a member of an anti-fossil fuel group.

Among the study flaws claimed by EID's Seth Whitehead — only 4 percent of study participants live near shale development and no baseline data for migraines and fatigue was gathered, data that contradicts the study's conclusions.

Mr. Whitehead reminds it's not the first time these researchers have come to dubious conclusions about Pennsylvania's fracking industry. Data appear to counter assertions about premature birth rates and asthma attacks, he says.

Are there environmental issues surrounding fracking? Of course there are; there are with every industry. And debate over associated environmental and health issues is necessary. But that debate must be honest.

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