New Report Finds Marcellus Shale Development Unrelated to Mortality Rates

Environmental groups have consistently been opposed the exploration for, extraction and use of fossil fuels. Since taking office President Trump has made embracing “energy dominance” part of his National Security Strategy:

Embrace Energy Dominance

For the first time in generations, the United States will be an energy-dominant nation. Energy dominance—America’s central position in the global energy system as a leading producer, consumer, and innovator—ensures that markets are free and U.S. infrastructure is resilient and secure. It ensures that access to energy is diversified, and recognizes the importance of environmental stewardship.

Access to domestic sources of clean, affordable, and reliable energy underpins a prosperous, secure, and powerful America for decades to come. Unleashing these abundant energy resources—coal, natural gas, petroleum, renewables, and nuclear—stimulates the economy and builds a foundation for future growth. Our Nation must take advantage of our wealth in domestic resources and energy efficiency to promote competitiveness across our industries.

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Environmentalists have raised a variety of issues related to fracking, the extraction of natural gas from oil shale. Environmentalists have pointed to health risks of fracking and pollution of groundwater supplies.

However, a new report debunks the healthcare issue. In the column “New Report Finds Marcellus Shale Development Unrelated To Pa. Mortality Rates” Nicole Jacobs reports:

Mortality rates in the six Pennsylvania counties with the most Marcellus Shale development have declined or remained stable since shale production began in the region, according to a new Energy In Depth-commissioned report. The findings directly refute accusations from anti-energy groups that the fracking boom is a threat to public health.

Key findings include:

  • There was no identifiable impact on death rates in the six counties attributable to the introduction of unconventional oil and gas development. In fact, the top Marcellus counties experienced declines in mortality rates in most of the indices.”
  • “The proportion of elderly-to-total population increased significantly in the top Marcellus counties compared to the state. Based on this fact, death rates in these six counties would be expected to increase, but this expected increase did not occur.
  • “Unconventional gas development was not associated with an increase in infant mortality in the top Marcellus counties, as the mortality rate significantly declined (improved), even surpassing the improvement of the state.”
  • “Unconventional gas development was not associated with an increase in deaths related to chronic lower respiratory disease (including asthma) in the top Marcellus counties, as the overall chronic lower respiratory disease mortality rate declined (improved) or was variable for the six-county area. The only exception was Greene County where the increased mortality rate was consistent with the increase in the elderly population.”
  • “During the period that unconventional gas development was introduced to these counties, the trends reflected a positive economic change in the area. Thereforeany increases in the death rates in the top Marcellus counties cannot be associated with negative changes to the economic viability of the population.”
  • “Unconventional gas development was not associated with an increase in deaths related to cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, influenza or pneumonia, nephritis or nephrotic syndrome, or septicemia in the top Marcellus counties, as the mortality rates significantly declined (improved).”

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Jacobs notes the report analyzed Pennsylvania Department of Health data for the state as a whole and the counties of Bradford, Greene, Lycoming, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Washington from 2000 to 2014. The report explains the significance of using the state’s data, noting,

“Pennsylvania has a comprehensive database and a decades-long history of reporting this data, providing the reviewer a consistent, reliable and sanctioned independent database to draw from for this study. Most importantly, the source of the data is the Pennsylvania State Health Department, as part of the National Center for Disease Control reporting system, and therefore is not data generated by the researcher. This protects the conclusion from bias and ensures that the study can be replicated when peer-reviewed.”

As with every issue, science trumps any initial emotional response. The environmentalists rallying cry that fracking will kill you are wrong headed and not scientifically proven. Fracking has been going on in the U.S. since 1940s with a surge beginning in 1990.

Americans rely on cheap reliable power. Fracking and fossil fuels meet both of these criteria and will allow American energy dominance.


5 Ways Energy Dominance Can Bolster Trump’s National Security Strategy

The Facts of Fracking – New York Times

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Cristobal Schmal.

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