IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Orange County Register Editorial: Report riles fracking foes

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Orange County Register Editorial: Report riles fracking foes

September 02, 2014

The California Council on Science and Technology released an independent report Thursday, concluding that, based on scientific evidence, the environmental impacts of the oil drilling technology known as fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing), are “relatively limited.”

More specifically, the report stated that “(g)roundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing has not been observed in this state” and that “direct emissions of hydraulic fracturing are a small component of total air pollution and methane.”

As to concerns that fracking may cause earthquakes, CCST said the practice – commonplace in California for at least a half-century – does “not result in a significant increase in seismic activity.”

CCST’s findings clear the way for the federal Bureau of Land Management – which commissioned the fracking report, he report, to resume leasing public land next year in the San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast for purposes of oil extraction.

Not surprisingly, California’s virulently anti-fracking environmental groups were downright apoplectic by the findings of the report.

“This report raises grave concerns about fracking pollution’s threat to California’s air and water,” said Kassie Siegel, a lawyer for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Using this report as a basis for continued fracking in California is illogical and illegal.”

The irony of Ms. Siegel’s remarks is that the report she disparaged actually was produced in response to a lawsuit jointly filed by her organization and the Sierra Club that challenged BLM’s leasing of public land to oil companies here in California.

We suspect that, had CCST’s report agreed with them, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and other anti-fracking groups would hold it out as unimpeachable science.

But because the report does not corroborate the near-hysterical claims by anti-fracking groups, they have attacked the report as, variously, “absurd,” “indefensible” and “disturbing.”

If this script sounds familiar, it’s because anti-fracking groups responded very much the same way in 2012 following the release of a study – in response to a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other plaintiffs – which concluded that fracking at the Inglewood Oil Field would not befoul the air or water.

Anti-fracking groups insist that their opposition to the practice is based strictly on science. But the fact that they refuse to accept the findings of scientific reports that do not further their causes – like a ban on fracking – suggests they are driven not by science, but by ideology.

To read this editorial in its entirety, visit: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/fracking-633234-report-california.html

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