EARTHWORKS

The biased fracking debate - Pennsylvania’s contribution

Alan Septoff's avatar
By Alan Septoff

August 28, 2013

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Cartoon credit: Nick Anderson

On Monday, I blogged about the biased mainstream fracking debate citing the Associated Press – which, so slow to acknowledge the health risks of fracking-enabled oil and gas drilling, was very quick to cite fracking’s (speculative) health benefits.

Today, it’s state government’s turn.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection was legally mandated to publish a report by spring of 2012 on how climate change will affect the state. It has missed the deadline, and there’s no telling when it will be published.

One reason for the missed deadline? State government pressured Penn State report authors to remove mention of science showing natural gas’s potential climate impacts.

As an article published yesterday by State Impact Pennsylvania relates, DEP was trying to exclude mention of a peer-reviewed scientific study that showed there’s good reason to believe that – from a climate perspective – natural gas is dirtier than coal.

To their credit, the report authors resisted, as did the DEP Climate Change Program Manager.  And thankfully, in the end, mention of the study was kept in the report – which (as mentioned above) still has yet to be released.

But the effort to suppress this information is troubling. The state and the public can’t make informed decisions about fracking-enabled oil and gas development without the facts.

And the fact is, too many in government and mainstream media are quick to trumpet the alleged benefits of fracking while ignoring or even suppressing fracking’s damages.

It’s no wonder that communities across the country are looking to ban fracking. They can’t get a straight answer on its risks.

And although Earthworks doesn’t endorse an outright ban, we understand and support the communities who do.


For more information:

EARTHblog: The biased mainstream fracking debate

Tagged with: pennsylvania department of environmental protection, fracking, climate change, bias

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