Don’t look now, but yet another left-wing hysteria just took a hit.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reports that freelance health research consultant Susan Mickley has released a report showing that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, not only provides economic benefits to communities in which the work is done, it does so without any of the health threats predicted by liberal environmentalists.
Mickley took a look at the six Pennsylvania counties with the state’s highest concentration of Marcellus shale frack wells from 2000 to 2014. The results she found were overwhelmingly positive:
“There was no identifiable impact on death rates in the six counties attributable to the introduction of unconventional oil and gas development,” the report states. “In fact, the top Marcellus counties experienced declines in mortality rates in most of the indices.”
Energy In Depth, a project of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, commissioned this Mickley’s study. Neither entity was involved in collecting or interpreting the data, however.
The study went on to address common allegations made against unconventional natural gas development, like increasing risk of chronic lower respiratory disease, heart disease and cancer. Mickley found no connection between fracking and any such negative health effects.
Mickley did find that as fracking became more prominent in each county, the local economies grew, as well.
Liberals have in the past pushed a University of Colorado study purporting to demonstrate that fracking increased people’s risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia, but the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment executive director Larry Wolk dismissed the study as weakly evidenced by a mere sixteen cases. By contrast, Mickley’s study covers fourteen years and a total of 959 to 1,692 fracking wells.
Mickley’s is hardly the first study to arrive at this conclusion. As TFPP reported back in April, a Duke University study “found no indication of groundwater contamination over the three-year course of our study” in northwestern West Virginia, and even the Environmental Protection Agency could find “no evidence that hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, led to ‘widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water'”:
Fear-mongering claims by environmental radicals that fracking will affect people’s quality of life — by toxifying their water, for instance — have been blown out of the water (pun intended).
Does this mean fracking poses no risks? Certainly not, though it does suggest that the myriad economic benefits to fracking — likely outweigh the possible drawbacks, particularly as they relate to quality of life issues.
If anything, fracking might actually enhance quality of life: “[A] new report compiled by Energy In Depth shows quite clearly that, since the shale revolution began, a number of key criteria pollutants have dramatically declined, having a profoundly positive effect on public health for families across the country.”
Moreover, cheap natural gas obtained primarily from fracking operations have “improved air quality in the U.S. by replacing mercury-laden coal emissions,” according to Forbes.
No human endeavor — not energy development, not medicine, not law enforcement, not air travel, not driving — is perfectly free of accidents or human error. And considering the track record of the big government government liberals posit as the alternative to private industry, with disastrous results even when trying to provide healthcare to our veterans or set up a government health insurance website.
A little humility would go a long way on all of these subjects. A pity that humility and politics tend not to go together.
You can read the full report for yourself right here.