Fake Study Recommends Quarter-Mile Setbacks for PA Shale Drilling

More fake “research” on drilling, courtesy the anti-drilling Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project (EHP). This is the same group of antis who brought us the so-called list of the harmed (in 2013) and last year launched a faux health registry that attempts to link everything from the sniffles to “performance issues” to nearby fracking (see Fake Science: SWPA Enviro Health Registry for Those Near Fracking). Here’s the latest laughable “research” published (yes published) in a pay-for-play journal: Setback distances for unconventional oil and gas development: Delphi study results. The so-called researchers from EHP asked 18 of their anti-drilling friends, who are supposedly experts, for an opinion on how far away a building should be located from a shale well. The current standard in PA is 500 feet. That is, a well being drilled must be at least 500 feet away from an “occupied building.” EHP’s anti-drilling friends (16 of the 18) said that number should be 1,320 feet–a quarter mile. EHP wrote it all up, presenting it as fact, and got it published in the very low-standard PLOS One journal–a journal where you pay them and they’ll publish anything. Totally made-up research. PLOS One is “peer reviewed” so voila, there’s now a “peer reviewed study” that says setbacks in PA should be at least a quarter of a mile away when it comes to shale drilling. Which would eliminate about 90% of all shale drilling in the state (which is the purpose of this “study”). We really don’t know how those from EHP can show their faces in public, pedaling this kind of junk science. More to the point, how can any honest, self-respecting organization spend good money to fund EHP?…
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Yale Study Claims Ohio Utica Fracking Causes STDs

What a shame that a university with one of the best reputations in the world, Yale, has sunk this low–to pedal yet another so-called study that claims where there is fracking in the Ohio Utica, there’s also a higher incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like gonorrhea and chlamydia. This isn’t the first “fracking causes STDs” study. Antis have issued these “studies” for years (see MDN coverage here). This latest study by Yale “researchers” was published in an online journal with no standards, PLOS ONE. Other bought-and-paid-for anti-fracking “science” has been published by the PLOS ONE research-mill (see a list of other fake studies bashing shale appearing in PLOS ONE). PLOS ONE is a favorite place to publish research that can’t meet the rigorous review process of real journals. Here’s the latest substandard anti-drilling “research” from the Yale School of Public Health…
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Update on Study that May/Might/Possibly Show Stressors from Drilling

In September MDN told you about a newly published study that purports to evaluate potential “stressors” on streams from unconventional (i.e. shale) oil and gas drilling–including drilling in the Marcellus/Utica (see New Study Evaluates Stressors on Streams from Shale Drilling). As we said at the time, the study appears to be real science as opposed to the usual political science that passes for real science. The one great negative, in our opinion, is that it was published in a non-peer reviewed journal that publishes a lot of “fracking will kill you” bull–PLOS ONE. The study has popped back up in the news once again. We find it interesting that newspapers run this headline–“Study indicates gas drilling can impact rivers, streams”–and a few paragraphs into the story, one of the lead authors of the paper says this: “What we’ve developed is a predictive model…We have not proven anything about whether shale gas development is affecting streams or not.” You always see lots of “cans” and “maybes” and “mights” and “possiblys” when it comes to anti-drilling mainstream media. How about sticking to “does” and “will” and “proven” instead? In other words, let’s have some hard science instead of theoretical science. Prove your statements. Do some in-the-field research. Here’s the latest update on a study that “may” indicate “some” problems with shale drilling…
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New Study Evaluates Stressors on Streams from Shale Drilling

researchA new research paper has just been published that purports to evaluate potential “stressors” on streams from unconventional (i.e. shale) oil and gas drilling–including drilling in the Marcellus/Utica. The paper is titled “Stream Vulnerability to Widespread and Emergent Stressors: A Focus on Unconventional Oil and Gas” (full copy embedded below) and is written by a group of researchers from the University of Arkansas, University of Central Arkansas, University of Wyoming, Wilkes University, the U.S. Geological Survey and Waterborne Environmental Inc. In a cursory review the paper does indeed appear to be heavy on science and absent the usual political arguments. However, the one great negative for this paper is that it is published in the online “journal” PLOS ONE, a publication with very low academic standards and home to a number of previous “fracking will kill you” types of “research” papers (see Another Day, Another “Study” Saying Marcellus Kills Nature; and Study Tries to Link Marcellus Fracking to Low Birth Weight Babies; and New Study Claims Marcellus Drilling Causes Serious Health Issues). Previous junk science “studies” published on PLOS ONE cast doubt on this study, but we bring it to you so you can judge for yourself whether or not this latest research is credible and useful in guiding policy and regulatory decisions…
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Devastating Critique of “Study” Linking Fracking to Health Issues

Yesterday MDN told you about a new “study” that reportedly links the presence of fracking with an increase in hospital visits for serious health issues, like heart conditions (see New Study Claims Marcellus Drilling Causes Serious Health Issues). We did a fast read of the research and explained our concerns about it, including the statement by the authors of the study themselves who admit the study doesn’t actually prove a thing. MDN friend Nicole Jacobs at Energy in Depth has done a deep dive and provides the following devastating critique of that study, including unearthing a video by one of the study’s authors which shows her as a full-throated anti-driller. That is, this “study” was a sham from the beginning, which was kind of our gut instinct when we spotted it…
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New Study Claims Marcellus Drilling Causes Serious Health Issues

junk scienceA new research study appearing in an online “journal” with very low standards, PLOS ONE, claims that hydraulic fracturing leads to an increase in hospitalization rates in the Marcellus Shale region. The research study, titled “Unconventional Gas and Oil Drilling Is Associated with Increased Hospital Utilization Rates” (full copy embedded below) on the surface appears to contain damning evidence. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University looked at hospitalization records for three northeastern Pennsylvania counties from 2007-2011–Bradford, Susquehanna and Wayne. Both Bradford and Susquehanna counties have seen a huge amount of shale drilling over that period. Wayne County, on the other hand, has seen no shale drilling because of the intransigence of the Delaware River Basin Commission and their ongoing frack ban. The researchers say that people in Bradford and Susquehanna counties go to the hospital for serious heart conditions at a rate 27% higher than those in Wayne County. Ergo, there is a connection between fracking and health issues. We are fully in favor of rigorous academic research into issues like this one. But a few things bother us about this latest “fracking kills” study…
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Study Tries to Link Marcellus Fracking to Low Birth Weight Babies

Junk ScienceHere’s how it works in anti-drilling land. Students who want to make a name for themselves and earn some cashola accept “funding” (i.e. a bribe) from an anti-drilling organization. The “funder” (i.e. briber) determines the topic and result they want the “research” to report. The students, from a prestigious school, then doctor up the research with enough surface credibility to fool stupid mainstream media types. The students then publish that “research” in an online journal with very low standards. What do you get? Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health accepting money from the Heinz Endowments to publish a study claiming mommies who live close to Marcellus Shale wells have babies with low birth weights (copy of the study below), published in the online journal PLOS ONE, now being picked up by the likes of CBS and other news outlets who are reporting what the authors themselves say is research that doesn’t prove anything. News headlines are then generated linking fracking to a negative health condition. The low-information, headline-only reading crowd reads the headline and never bothers to question whether or not it’s true (which it isn’t), and voila–we have another case of public brainwashing, assisted by students prostituting themselves for money and fame, and damaging the reputation of the University of Pittsburgh. All bought and paid for by a big money donor to the school, Teresa Heinz-Kerry, using her dead first husband’s money…
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Another Day, Another “Study” Saying Marcellus Kills Nature

We sometimes wonder: Do some humans suffer from species guilt? Why do some people seem to believe that the human animal–the crowning achievement of all of God’s (or evolution, depending on your view of origins) animals–is actually an infestation on Mother Earth? There is a direct correlation between man’s development and use of energy, and man’s advancement. We live longer, are healthier, and enjoy more “stuff” than ever–largely because of energy: electricity, oil, natural gas and coal. Everything from your phone to your computer to the clothes you wear and the shoes on your feet, even what you eat–all of it is derived from and delivered by abundant energy sources. And yet, some humans want to turn the clock back–they want less energy. It’s like they have a death wish for the human species, or perhaps they are self-loathing. It’s simply irrational and unfathomable.

Those are the thoughts we had after reading about the latest release of a “study” that takes a look at how drilling in the biggest and best shale play–the Marcellus–maybe, might, possibly, could, theoretically lead to the destruction of wildlife habitat and freshwater ecosystems. But why stop there? Let’s throw in wind power too! Wind power also screws up wildlife habitats. And so this latest “research” study, titled Shale Gas, Wind and Water: Assessing the Potential Cumulative Impacts of Energy Development on Ecosystem Services within the Marcellus Play (copy embedded below, authored by the anti-drilling Nature Conservancy and published in a “peer-reviewed” journal), seeks not to eliminate Marcellus drilling (because that train has already left the station), but instead encourages Soviet-style central planning by government bureaucrats to minimize the effects of all this willy nilly drilling that’s goin’ on out they’a…
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