Ahead of Earth Day, Energy In Depth Releases Compendium Demonstrating Health Benefits of Fracking

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of Earth Day, and as anti-fossil fuel activists prepare to “march for science,” Energy In Depth is releasing a new compendium demonstrating that air quality improvements across the country can be traced directly back to fracking.

The report – Compendium of Studies Demonstrating the Safety and Health Benefits of Fracking – houses dozens of scientific studies that show how the increased use of natural gas for electricity generation, made possible by the shale revolution, is the reason for dramatic decreases in air pollution across the board. This, in turn, has provided substantial health benefits for Americans.

In addition to the compendium, EID unveiled a new microsite, EIDHealth.org – a one-stop shop for anyone looking for information about shale development and public health.

“This new compendium and health microsite provides the overwhelming scientific evidence that our increased use of natural gas, thanks to fracking, has delivered immense health benefits for families across the country,” said Jeff Eshelman, executive vice president of Energy In Depth. “Activists who are supposedly ‘marching for science’ this weekend should stop denying the science that clearly shows shale development has led to cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

EID’s compendium includes data from 23 peer-reviewed studies, 17 government health and regulatory agencies, and reports from 10 research institutions that clearly demonstrate:

  • Increased natural gas use — thanks to hydraulic fracturing — has led to dramatic declines in air pollution. The United States is the number one oil and gas producer in the world and it has some of the lowest death rates from air pollution. Numerous studies have shown that pollution has plummeted as natural gas production has soared.
  • Emissions from well sites and associated infrastructure are below thresholds regulatory authorities consider to be a threat to public health – that’s the conclusion of multiple studies using air monitors that measure emissions directly.
  • There is no credible evidence that fracking causes or exacerbates asthma. In fact, asthma rates and asthma hospitalizations across the United States have declined as natural gas production has ramped up.
  • There is no credible evidence that fracking causes cancer. Studies that have measured emissions at fracking sites have found emissions are below the threshold that would be harmful to public health.
  • There is no credible evidence that fracking leads to adverse birth outcomes. In fact, adverse birth outcomes have decreased while life expectancy has increased in areas that are ramping up natural gas use.
  • Fracking is not a credible threat to groundwater. Study after study has shown that there are no widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water form hydraulic fracturing.

It is well known that the shale revolution has been a boon to our nation’s economy, its geopolitical position, and the millions of consumers and manufacturers who continue to benefit from historically low energy costs. But the case in support of shale’s salubrious effect on air quality and health continues to be an underreported phenomenon. This new report and microsite puts the health benefits of our increased use of natural gas in the spotlight.

 

Comments

  1. Peter DeCarlo, Ph.D. says:

    As an atmospheric scientist who studies air pollution and climate, I hope your readers are willing to read the below comments with an open mind and ask any questions they may have. I am not interested in talking points, but rather sharing science based information. Fair and unbiased fact should be a starting point for discussion. Value judgements and how people use that information is a personal choice.

    While true that natural gas power generation produces less pollutants than coal based power production, it is also true that nuclear power, wind power, and solar power have even fewer air pollutant emissions, and would therefore be even better for air quality. One could also argue that a filtered cigarette exposes a smoker to less tar than an unfiltered one, but doctors aren’t going around and advocating for smokers to switch to filtered cigarettes. Rather they suggest quitting altogether.

    As for greenhouse gas emissions (here a climate issue, not an air quality/health one), they are certainly lower from a power production point of view, but it isn’t clear they are lower when production is included. Not that it really matters because ANY greenhouse gas emission is a negative for the climate system. Phasing out all fossil fuels is what is required to have a stable climate for the next generation. Touting that natural gas greenhouse gas emissions are lower than coal (still debatable when looking at lifecycle) misses the point that climate change mitigation requires transitioning AWAY from fossil fuels not investing in ones that are marginally lower emitting.

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  1. […] Collectively, the research included in the compendium demonstrates: […]

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