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Sorry, Tim Peck, but fracking is risky business

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Tim Peck, self-proclaimed objectivist, sent out a tweet today with a hefty accusation: 2015-05-27_1316

The article in question is titled “Asheville film screening warns about fracking threats,” by Asheville Citizen-Times writer Karen Chávez. To claim that an article is filled with lies is quite the assertion, in my opinion. After reading the article, I noticed a single comment had been posted. Turns out, Tim Peck decided to weigh in: 2015-05-27_1317

I wasn’t able to fit the entire comment into a single screenshot, here’s the last bit: 2015-05-27_1328

In particular, here’s the portion of his comment that stood out to me:

The truth is that water used in fracking is recycled for reuse, and fracking poses no danger to health and there is no long-term risk to underground water. The times where health was at risk were due to SURFACE spills at the well head. Surface spill accidents are becoming increasingly rare as new safety measures are applied. http://nchouse8.com/fracking-awesome/#safe

Even with a superficial understanding of what fracking is and with at least a couple of news reports on the matter in mind, this comment should seem disingenuous and egregious to most people. I decided to look into it, to see if fracking indeed “poses no danger to health.” Right off the bat, a quick search gave me this story, rife with lax regulation: Waste Water from Oil Fracking Injected into Clean Aquifers. From the article:

“It’s inexcusable,” said Hollin Kretzmann, at the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco. “At (a) time when California is experiencing one of the worst droughts in history, we’re allowing oil companies to contaminate what could otherwise be very useful ground water resources for irrigation and for drinking. It’s possible these aquifers are now contaminated irreparably.”

[…]

According to state records, as many as 40 water supply wells, including domestic drinking wells, are located within one mile of a single well that’s been injecting into non-exempt aquifers.

That well is located in an area with several homes nearby, right in the middle of a citrus grove southeast of Bakersfield.

[…]

However, state officials tested 8 water supply wells within a one-mile radius of some of those wells.

Four water samples came back with higher than allowable levels of nitrate, arsenic, and thallium.

Here, in a report by ProPublica, they’ve rounded up some recent research and studies which emphasize the health-related impact and ramifications of fracking.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has a brief article on the current atmosphere in North Carolina regarding fracking, and they’ve got stories from other states about the dangers of it.

(Edit [8/4/2016]: The Natural Resources Defense Council links appear to be down or now direct to new pages, but here’s a fact sheet which sums up what the links originally pointed to)

In the peer-reviewed journal Public Health, there is an article titled “The implications of unconventional drilling for natural gas: a global public health concern.” The last sentence of the abstract is worth remembering: “It should not be concluded that an absence of data implies that no harm is being done.” It seems to me that this is what many are doing, Tim Peck included, when it comes to fracking. Because there may be data lacking and not many long-term studies exist (if any), it is assumed that, as the journal states, “no harm is being done.” It is clear, though, that public health is at risk and underground water is being contaminated.

Tim Peck, and people like him, are patently wrong when they claim that fracking is not dangerous. What is dangerous, however, is spreading false information. Yes, Tim, let’s play Count The Lies, and then let’s play Count The Grossly Misleading And False Claims. So much for being an objectivist.

Update: Tim Peck responded to me after I published this. Here’s what he said (you can see my posts embedded into his):

2015-05-27_1422

2015-05-27_1423

The disingenuous attitude continues… unless he truly doesn’t understand the glaring conflict between what I’ve sourced and the statements he’s made. Dozens — if not hundreds — of “accidents, anomalies, and anecdotes” caused by/during the fracking process is, apparently, “not fracking.” Alright then.

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One thought on “Sorry, Tim Peck, but fracking is risky business

  1. Pingback: Objectivism’s Subjectivity | Open Journals

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