The Corner

Fracking Falsehoods

The Environmental Protection Agency may fight for a clean earth, but it’s using dirty tricks.

In 2011, in my home state of Wyoming, the agency released a sloppy draft report that had never been peer-reviewed. At the time, the study was trumpeted as the first-ever link between hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination. A sampling of the sensational media coverage that ensued:

The New York Times reported that “chemicals used to hydraulically fracture rocks in drilling for natural gas in a remote valley in central Wyoming are the likely cause of contaminated local water supplies, federal regulators said.” The Financial Times ran a story headlined “EPA blames fracking for Wyoming pollution.” National Public Radio announced that “for the first time, federal environmental regulators have made a direct link between the controversial drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination.” And the Salt Lake Tribune ran an editorial subtitled “EPA report shows water poisoned.”

Well, that was then and this is now. Last week, the EPA quietly, subtly withdrew its study, adding that it wouldn’t rest on its conclusions. No such headline frenzy occurred for this development.

It’s embarrassing that the EPA’s science was so faulty. But it’s outright shameful that the agency used the study to mislead the public and further a political goal. Read the whole sordid story here.

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