by Steve Everley,
In Part III of our multi-part series exploring how anti-fracking activists sow the seeds of doubt on the safety of shale development (see also Part I and Part II), we look at the ongoing debate over public health.
Anti-fracking groups are increasingly focused on public health issues, specifically those that may or may not be related to shale development. Primarily based on air emissions, the “health issue” has also become incredibly emotional, with terms like “cancer” being tossed about recklessly — and often with no evidence to support them. Activists have instilled so much fear in certain segments of the public that policymakers have been utterly crippled. New York’s moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, for example, has been repeatedly extended until a series of state-mandated “public health” assessments are completed.
So, what’s the evidence provided to support these allegedly high public health risks? Chief among them is a study from the Colorado School of Public Health, which purported to draw a link between “serious health impacts” and proximity to oil and gas wells. The study suffered...