Monday, May 5, 2014

Why Don’t We Have Good Data On The Health Effects Of Fracking?

frack field clouds
CREDIT: Calin Tatu/Shutterstock

This week the Colorado Senate Appropriations Committee defeated a bill that would have commissioned a study on the health effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state’s Front Range. It was the second time Representative Joann Ginal (D-Front Range) had unsuccessfully proposed a study looking at fracking’s health effects, but she indicated she’ll be bringing it up again next year. Opponents of the study claimed that it was politically motivated and would be biased, and that it would be an unnecessary duplication of existing studies. But they mentioned no specific provisions of the bill that would cause bias, and were not able to provide recent studies on the impact of fracking on public health.

Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch), who opposed the study, told ThinkProgress the “specter of political motivation” made it suspect. McNulty said he was concerned the study wouldn’t be “done in a way that can be scientifically validated,” but did not provide further details. Also of concern was the fact that it would duplicate existing studies, he said, though his office did not provide examples despite requests from ThinkProgress.

A look at the bill itself revealed no obvious cause for concern for drilling advocates. One representative of the environmental community would be present on the study’s advisory committee, balanced out by a representative of the oil and gas industry. But if claims of politicization and duplicated studies don’t hold much water, what could be behind the opposition?  MORE

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