Hydraulic Fracturing and the Democrats’ War on Science

Democrats have a funny habit of screaming about how Republicans refuse to accept what they deem an overwhelming scientific consensus on one pillar of their political agenda but ignoring when such consensus calls into question their own policies. They’ve spent a lot of time telling conservatives that the scientific community unanimously believes that man-made global warming is not only an immediate threat to our planet (in fact, the opposite is true) but also an entirely reasonable justification for raising taxes on the American people.

Now, progressives and radical environmentalists want to ban hydraulic fracturing, despite an abundance of evidence confirming that this innovative procedure safely harnesses previously untapped domestic energy resources. This process, known colloquially as “fracking,” has resulted in lower costs for consumers and a job boom at a time when so many across the country search desperately for work.

Facts be damned, self-proclaimed socialist and astonishingly legitimate Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says that if he’s elected, he would outlaw hydraulic fracturing.

“Fracking pollutes water, degrades air quality and worsens climate change. No amount of regulation can make it safe,” Sanders erroneously proclaimed on Twitter.

Not to be outdone by Sanders, former secretary of state and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton promises to so severely curtail the energy industry that fracking would go the way of the dinosaurs whose fossils create the oil and gas they extract — even though fracking has led to a drastic cut in CO2 emissions, as the chart below shows.

fracking co emissions

Source: AEI

“By the time we get through all of my conditions,” Clinton boasted in Flint, Michigan, earlier this year, “I do not think there will be may places in America where fracking will continue to take place.”

It seems there’s some science that Democrats don’t care to acknowledge. According to a study commissioned by the National Science Foundation and Duke University, “no groundwater or aquifer pollution resulted from the practice of fracking itself.”

Out of the 130 sites surveyed, only a handful indicated any potential contamination in water, which Duke University geochemist Avner Vengosh determined was caused by structural failures, not hydraulic fracturing.

“[T]hese results appear to rule out the migration of methane up into drinking water aquifers from depth because of horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing,” he explained.

This means that in the rare instance of drinking water contamination, it occurs outside of the drilling device itself. Instead, the problems are caused by poor well construction or cementing, neither of which reflect the safety of the actual extraction of fossil fuels.

Even the Obama administration concedes that hydraulic fracturing poses no actual threat to human safety.

In June 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it “did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”

Even the Obama administration concedes that hydraulic fracturing poses no actual threat to human safety
Democrats care not for the scientific consensus on hydraulic fracturing — probably because “fracking” just sounds so nasty — but perhaps they might have second thoughts about the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in the event their plans come to fruition. As CNN points out, hydraulic fracturing accounts for half of all energy production in the United States. The discovery of new oil and gas sources created 725,000 Americans jobs between 2005 and 2012, which experts credit for significantly lowering the unemployment rate and moving the country out of the Great Recession.

Consumers also reap the benefits of hydraulic fracturing. Earlier this year, oil prices fell to just $26 a barrel. As a result, the average American family saved an additional $750 in energy costs. Without question, banning fracking would cause oil and gas prices to skyrocket, spurring a financial catastrophe that would adversely affect every sector of our economy.

So, while Sanders and Clinton believe they’re just placating a certain type of liberal extremist, some of whom happen to be big Democratic financiers (hello again, Tom Steyer!), they are actually demonstrating an eagerness to send our nation’s economy into a tailspin.

So much for the party of science.

Ellen Carmichael is a senior writer for Opportunity Lives. Follow her on Twitter @ellencarmichael.