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Fracking Lies and Misconceptions are Driving Public Opinion

maryland fracking

K.J. Rodgers
Crownsville, Maryland  

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Fracking lies and misconceptions spread through the media are continuing to hinder public opinion on natural gas development.

A few years ago, during a lunch break at work, we were discussing natural gas development in Maryland. Unbeknownst to everyone in the room at the time that I was a heavy supporter, a colleague of mine, whom I respected for his insight on many issues, began telling everyone how bad the fracking process was.

Out of curiosity, I began to ask some deeper questions to him on what he meant by his statements. He begin telling our lunch group about the “Halliburton loophole” and how the gas companies were given special exemptions to pump toxins in the ground and how it poisons water, etc… “HBO has a documentary called Gasland and it really dives into the industry and exposes its issues.” Gasland, perhaps the single most irresponsible, to say nothing of dangerous, documentary ever produced was being used as a unquestioned imformation source by a man who questioned everything for fun.

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Right from the cover, Fox projects misconceptions about gas.

Unfortunately, too many others believe what Josh Fox says in his films, despite the fact his entire film was based on a lie. It would easy to write the thing off as misinformation from an artsy film maker from the fringes, or, perhaps even as one side of an argument about fracking, but the reality is that it is a flat out lie on which the entire film is premised. I do not believe Kim Jong-un could have more deceitful with his propaganda. The real damage though, is in the ideology and world view the film helped create and we are still to this day seeing far too many closed or lazy minds among activists and politicians, relying upon such un-credible information every time fracking comes up.

Just recently, Maryland’s Prince George’s County used them in their zoning ban of fracking. Bernie Sanders is using them as he called for an outright ban nation wide and, as for his opponent Clinton, well, she says whatever she thinks is trending, but has said that she will regulate the process to a point where it will be impossible to operate. Just about every media mention of fracking is tilted to the anti’s side as they give credence to so many of these false claims.

Just yesterday, I was reading an article from Reuters, “Pennsylvania voters torn over calls for a fracking ban” The article embeds this definition of fracking into the middle of the story as if it were a placed advertisement.

“Fracking – which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into the ground to free oil and gas reserves from rock formations – is responsible for a boom in U.S. oil and gas production over the past decade that has slammed energy company profits and lowered costs for consumers.

It has also been implicated in ground water pollution, and a rash of small earthquakes in places like Oklahoma and Ohio, raising concerns about its safety.

Opposition to fracking, meanwhile, has risen to an all-time high nationwide of 51 percent, according to a Gallup poll released March 31, from 40 percent a year earlier.”

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Notice the fire water picture in the background and a scary picture dirty water

It is no wonder so many more Americans as opposed to fracking if I were to believe this poll. If they didn’t know what fracking was already, then they sure as hell are not going to throw their support in for it after that introduction. I know many news reporters today seem to think it’s their ethical responsibility to move away from presenting information from both sides and take a position, but this is ridiculous.

Why couldn’t Valerie Volcovici, the reporter in this instance, have taken a moment to point out the EPA, NOAA, Yale, and the University of Cincinnati have all concluded fracking doesn’t pollute water or air when done following today’s strict regulations? Why could she not mention that earthquakes are not associated with fracking, but with waste water disposal from other sources as this Stanford paper mentions? No, she chose to repeat the fracking lies, citing them as if they were facts.

Regardless of how many times the claim fracking is dangerous is debunked, we are seeing everyone from celebrities to presidential candidates using them as a reason to ban fracking, adding in some rather bizarre twists from time to time. As mentioned by the Reuters story, Katie McGinty, former head of the state’s environmental regulator, is running for Senator on the Democrat ticket and looking for stricter standards on the industry but her primary opponent, Joe Sestak, an extremist on several issues, goes further:

“Now is the moment to really do it,” Sestak said about a ban, pointing to a slump in oil and gas prices that has left many drill pads idle. “We can’t even pump any more gas out because our pipelines are filled.”

Could there be any more foolish statement? Sestak apparently wants to fix what, by his own admission, is a huge success, not something that is broken. A thinking man would conclude the fact pipelines are filled is a good thing; a marvelous thing no one even thought possible less than a decade ago. Joe Sestak obviously isn’t thinking. He’s programmed by an ideology he’s bought into; a set of fracking lies he finds to be politically correct in his world. He’s a zealot appealing to other zealots and the fracking lies forming the foundation of his position have been popularized by a media too lazy or too biased to sort them out.

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