The New York Times normally does an excellent job of uncovering corruption, exposing untruths and shedding light on issues important to New York, the United States and the world. Sometimes though, the New York Times chases a problem that doesn’t exist. That’s exactly what happened with Ian Urbina’s recent NYT piece on natural gas and the ‘fracking’ procedure of extraction.

In the article, Urbina suggests that there is only one conclusion to draw from a 30-year old EPA report – that there is ‘proof’ that the fracking process itself has contaminated drinking water.  However, conflicting source documents and alternate theories from environmental groups cited in the NYT’s own article show that it was never actually proven how the fracking fluids entered the well.

In fact, the EPA, Ground Water Protection Council, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, state agencies, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission have repeatedly found that there has never been an instance of water contamination from the fracking process.  Even opponents of shale development admit the risk of such contamination appears low.

Some will argue that testing is not a substitute for real world experience and that testers themselves are biased towards business, but these arguments fail to take an objective look at the facts. The EPA under Obama has not been known for coddling business at the expense of the environment and the real-world
industry track record is exemplary: millions of wells have been fracked in dozens of states over 60 years without incident.

Even CNBC’s Jim Cramer, not one to stick up for business at the expense of those who trust his financial advice, pokes serious holes in Urbina’s ‘confused reportingabout the transformational shale business…’

At a time when energy prices are crippling our economy, it is fair and, and important, that we have discussions about the viability of energy alternatives. Shoddy reporting that obscures the facts delegitimizes these discussions and makes solutions to our energy problem that much harder to achieve.



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