No one can begrudge the writer of the Dec. 13 letter “Disclosure needed” for wanting answers about the risks of developing oil and natural gas from shale. But the deliberate linkage to cancer in children to make a point is hyperbolic and unhelpful.
A recent study from Duke University, which examined methane concentrations in Pennsylvania water wells and was widely misreported as proving fracking contaminates groundwater, actually concluded there was “no evidence for contamination of the shallow wells near active drilling sites from deep brines and/or fracturing fluids.” State regulators, the U.S. EPA and the head of the U.S. Department of Energy have similarly all affirmed there is no evidence of such contamination.
Additionally, fracking fluid data are publicly accessible. The website FracFocus.org contains fracking fluid disclosures for more than 55,000 well sites across the country. The Obama White House has praised the site, saying it “provides transparency to the American people” about fracking fluids and chemicals.
The discussion over shale development should be based on facts. Purposely sowing doubt about safety, while shamelessly saying fracking will give kids cancer, simply has no place in that dialogue.
The writer is a spokesman for Energy In Depth.