As fracking companies were waging war on facts across the country, the EPA was quietly concluding its final study into the danger of hydraulic fracking.
The verdict? It’s as terrible as we all thought.
Dr. Thomas A. Burke – EPA’s Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Research and Development – discussed the details of the final report in a press release on December 13:
The value of high quality science has never been more important in helping to guide decisions around our nation’s fragile water resources. EPA’s assessment provides the scientific foundation for local decision makers, industry, and communities that are looking to protect public health and drinking water resources and make more informed decisions about hydraulic fracturing activities. This assessment is the most complete compilation to date of national scientific data on the relationship of drinking water resources and hydraulic fracturing.
The report was published at the behest of congress, a hot bed of climate change deniers and anti-science fanatics. Much to their chagrin, this report reverses the pro-fracking components of a 2015 study that featured text stating that there was no evidence of “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.” This bizarre qualifier flew in the face of actual people’s experience with fracking – which has ruined the drinking water for inhabitants around the United States – as well as the statistical results in the report itself.
Multiple investigations by consumer advocacy and watch dog groups uncovered that several EPA officials introduced such misleading language to pad the actual evidence in the report, which documented the dangers of fracking, including (but by no means limited to) ground water contamination and chemical leaks from fracking sites.
The latest report underscores that virtually every step of the hydraulic fracking process poses a threat to drinking water and adjacent watersheds.
The findings have come just in time. The incoming Trump administration will perhaps be the single most anti-science white house in the modern era. Even George W. Bush’s EPA Chief Chistine Todd Whitman slammed Trump’s climate change denying appointees, remarking on the reality star’s pick to fill the position she once held: “I don’t recall ever having seen an appointment of someone who is so disdainful of the agency and the science behind what the agency does.”
As concern mounts over a potential witch hunt inside the EPA (Trump’s transition team has asked for the names of EPA officials working on climate change studies) and the growing number of oil and gas industry moguls filling up Trump’s inner circle, the fight for climate justice and a cleaner future – much like the world’s ocean temperatures – is heating up.