More Junk Science: “Study” on Low PA Birth Weight from Fracking

Another bought-and-paid-for junk science report has been released and is now grabbing headlines from lazy (or biased) mainstream news organizations. A study by researchers from the University of Chicago and Princeton University, funded by the uber-liberal (and anti-drilling) MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur Foundation funds some of the worst of the worst Big Green groups, including Earthworks, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club, among others. The “study” looked at health records from Pennsylvania and purports to find that in those locations with fracked shale wells, babies are born with lower birth weights than in areas without fracking. And there’s the headline everyone is grabbing. Here’s how it works: Big donors like the MacArthur Foundation go shopping for scientists at highly respected, reputable universities they can buy off with a research grant. They then tell the researchers what the outcome of the study will be. The researchers then conduct their research and magically come to the predetermined conclusion and get it published in a “peer reviewed” (and obscure) scientific journal. It has just happened again, with a study titled “Hydraulic fracturing and infant health: New evidence from Pennsylvania” (full copy below). How do we know this is actually junk science? Even the left-leaning Science magazine says this about the study: “…there is no smoking gun that proves how fracking impairs infant health.” When the left says that about a study, it’s junk…
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New Study Shows NO Link Between Marcellus & PA Mortality Rates

An important research report has just been released that shows no connection between Marcellus Shale drilling and death (i.e. mortality) rates in Pennsylvania. Since the dawn of shale fracking, antis have made wild claims about fracking leading to low birth weights, asthma, and early death for those who live near active shale drilling operations. This study (full copy below) refutes that junk science–by using real data and real facts. Energy in Depth (an industry group) sponsored the research, but they hired an independent researcher to do the work. Hey, if we don’t pay for real research, it won’t get done! The independent researcher 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 data shows mortality rates in those six PA counties (which happen to be the counties with the most Marcellus Shale development) have declined or remained stable since shale production began in the region. In fact, the top Marcellus counties experienced declines in mortality rates in most of the indices. This is yet more proof that natural gas is not only good for the environment, it’s good for humans too…
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“Health Experts” Meet in Pitt. to Demonize Shale, Shell Cracker

A group of so-called “health experts” pontificated at an event yesterday hosted by the League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters in Pittsburgh. They were supposedly there to discuss shale and public health. One of the gripe sessions took aim against Shell’s now-under construction ethane cracker facility. Speakers tried hard not to come right out and curse shale and the cracker–but they couldn’t help themselves. In the end they made untrue statements that imply the cracker will poison the community and make it unlivable. One speaker’s solution? “Don’t build it.” Typical. All you need to know about yesterday’s meeting is that one of the panelists is the staff attorney for the radical enviro organization Earthjustice. Truth was the main casualty at yesterday’s meeting…
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Antis Release Fake Report Claiming PA Children at Risk from Drilling

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has done it again. They’ve posted another fake news story about the Marcellus Shale industry. Here’s how it works: A Big Green group, like the odious Earthworks, enlists the help of a servile, biased “reporter”–feeding all sorts of false information to said “reporter”–the “reporter” essentially takes dictation, writes it up, and publishes it as “news.” Earthworks and Moms Clean Air Force, both national, radical, out-of-the-mainstream anti fossil-fuel groups, have colluded with the Post-Gazette to release a fake news “report” that says because some of Pennsylvania’s children go to school within a half mile of an oil or gas well, those children are endangered from emissions, including methane. Yeah, methane–you know, natural gas. IF methane happens to leak (which doesn’t happen often) it simply goes straight up into the atmosphere where it supposedly contributes to man-made global warming. It certainly doesn’t endanger anyone on the ground. The Big Green groups publishing the report say 311,000 kids in PA go to school near an oil or gas well (the vast majority being conventional, non-shale wells). Big Green totally lies about the risks. But let’s set that aside for the moment. Why are only children endangered? Why not adults too? Or pets? Or zombies? Big Green is (ab)using children in their narrative because everyone has a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to kids. We all will protect our children with our own lives–it’s an ingrained, automatic reaction. These sleazeballs are playing off that fear with a false report–and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is complicit in spreading the lie…
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Lancaster PA Hospital Goes Political with Anti-Fracking Article

Perhaps it’s time for those who support using clean-burning natural gas to find a new hospital–if they live in the Lancaster, PA area. In the fall edition of The Journal of Lancaster General Hospital, an anti-fossil fuel doctor who practices at the hospital published an outrageous political smear job pretending to be a scientific article–lying about natural gas and its extraction and its “pollution” of the environment. Dr. Alan S. Peterson, M.D., who specializes in geriatrics (he’s 71 himself), is an anti-driller with a history of activism against the shale industry. In an article in the Fall issue of the Journal, Peterson quotes a number of discredited “studies” funded with money from Big Green groups to make a case against the shale industry. Unfortunately, the article is dressed up scientific garb, giving it the illusion of accuracy. It is nothing more than typical anti hoo-ha. Two weeks ago Dr. Peterson penned an op-ed for a local Lancaster news outlet opposing a plan to fix dramatically slow response times at the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) when issuing permits related to shale drilling. Peterson is political, plain and simple–and he opposes the extraction of fossil fuels, which says all you need to know about Dr. Peterson, and about Lancaster General…
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Yale U Launches Another Sham Fracking Study, Predetermined Outcome

In June 2016 MDN told you about a sham “study” on the way from an anti-drilling “researcher” from Yale University, funded by Big Green groups (see Yale Arrives in Belmont County to Study the Evils of Fracking). “Researcher” Nicole Deziel arrived in Belmont County and announced, in so many words, she would drag a $20 bill through a trailer park (literally willing to pay only $20) to “study” air and water samples from residents’ domiciles as part of a new research “project” with a predetermined outcome–that they’re being poisoned by fracking. Ms. Deziel wanted 100 participants and ended up with 66. After eight weeks of collecting samples and talking to people, Ms. Deziel held a wrap-up rally with area residents before departing town to discuss the “study”–saying she has no conclusions, yet. The reason we knew the Yale “study” is a put-up job, and not real science, is because at the very same wrap-up meeting residents also heard from the radical anti-drilling group Ohio Environmental Council. That was the tip-off that this was not real research but hucksterism with a predetermined outcome (see Put-Up Job: Yale “Researchers” Meet with Locals in Belmont County). Ms. Deziel and a cabal of Yale “researchers” are back to “launch a new study on the health effects of hydraulic fracturing.” This time Deziel and company have hit big money–the “study” is being funded with $2 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Antis doing “research” have fleeced the EPA into backing them for another study with a predetermined outcome. A true waste of taxpayer’s money. But hey, it’s made millionaires out the researchers!…
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Is Truck Traffic the Culprit in Fracking’s So-Called ‘Health Effects’

West Virginia University professor and researcher Dr. Michael McCawley, chairman of the Dept. of Occupational & Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health, has been studying the health effects of fracking since 2012. Dr. McCawley launched the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (MSEEL)–a project that drilled a test well is providing real-time air, noise, occupational safety and health monitoring over a five-year period (see WVU Launches 5-Year Study of Local Frack Site for Air, Noise, H&S). It is one of three such projects approved and funded (in part) by the U.S. Dept. of Energy. When Dr. McCawley theorizes on something to do with fracking, we sit up and take notice. He does not appear, to us, to have any ax to grind with drilling. He’s a researcher looking for answers to questions. We spotted a report by The Allegheny Front, a PBS program with an anti-drilling bent, but sometimes with good reports, interviewing Dr. McCawley about his newest theory as to whether or not, and how, fracking may have local health impacts. McCawley’s theory, after standing in the middle of Montrose, PA watching truck after truck after truck pass through town, is that the presence of so many trucks, most of them burning diesel fuel, may indeed impact people who live close to drilling sites. Diesel emissions in concentrated form are not good. Here’s what McCawley had to say, via Allegheny Front
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Fake Science: SWPA Enviro Health Registry for Those Near Fracking

More fake “research” is on the way courtesy of the anti-drilling Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project. The Project is launching a so-called public health registry. Log in to the website and if you live within five miles of a drilling site, you can report your latest headache in an attempt to link it to (and smear) shale development. Yep, just blame everything on drilling. Got allergies? Blame drilling. Headache? Blame drilling. Earache? Blame drilling. Er, a “performance issues?” Blame drilling. (Maybe they’ll give you some free Viagra.) That’s the purpose of this latest sham initiative by the same group that has brought us such glittering examples of “research” as “The List of the Harmed”…
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New Analysis Shows Johns Hopkins Asthma “Study” was Junk Science

Last July anti-frackers at the Johns Hopkins-Bloomberg School of Public Health expelled another bought-and-paid-for (by anti-drillers) “study” that implies the presence of fracking in Pennsylvania leads to causing, or making worse, asthma attacks (see Sham “Study” from Johns Hopkins Says Fracking Makes Athsma Worse). The study, “Association Between Unconventional Natural Gas Development in the Marcellus Shale and Asthma Exacerbations,” evaluated thousands of health records from the Geisinger Clinic in PA, looking for patterns between people showing up with asthmatic symptoms and correlating it to how close they live to shale wells being drilled. As we pointed out at the time, “The incredible thing about this latest run at smearing the miracle of fracking is this: the authors (most of them students) admit in their own study they only have theories, no proof that ties fracking to asthma.” At the time, Energy in Depth noted it seemed a bit odd that the researchers didn’t include a county by county comparison, to illustrate how asthma got worse in counties with drilling as opposed to those without. Now we know why. EID has done its own analysis, using PA Dept. of Health data, that shows asthma episodes in counties with the most shale drilling went DOWN, not up! Which blows the door right off the Johns Hopkins “study”…
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Fake “Report” Claims 9K Health Complaints in PA from Fracking

A fake report recently issued by the anti-drilling, radically left and biased Public Herald (populated with activists masquerading as “journalists”) claims that some 9,400 residents in Pennsylvania have filed complaints that fracking has caused them ill-health in one way or the other. It is, according to anti-drillers, a public health “crisis.” How do we know this so-called report is TOTAL BS? Look at who wrote it, and look at who funded it: community organizers wrote it, the Heinz Foundation funded it. This is another sterling example of Joseph Goebbels-like propaganda. The Harrisburg Patriot-News allowed one such community organizer/anti-fossil fueler to run an article on the opinion-editorial page touting the report as legitimate. You can fool some of the people some of the time…
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Group of Radical PA Doctors Pass Resolution Calling for Frack Ban

enviro naziThe 16,000-member Pennsylvania Medical Society is controlled by a small and dedicated group of radical leftists. They’re also shockingly stupid, for doctors and medical people (you might want to seek medical care in another state). The PA Medical Society’s 300-member House of Delegates voted unanimously to pass a resolution calling for a total ban on fracking in the Keystone State. Stop it–all of it–right now. That’s what they said. Even though there is no evidence that fracking harms human health. That is, independent studies done all say the same thing: fracking is safe. However, biased bought-and-paid-for studies say fracking will kill ‘ya. We find it astonishing that there was not one single delegate who didn’t vote for the resolution–which proves our point that radical, lock-step lefties control the society…
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New Research Finds Natural Gas Can (Literally) Save Your Life

save-your-lifeUsing natural gas may literally save your life. Researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) recently conducted research using the country of Turkey because that country has made a big shift over the past couple of decades, moving away from other forms of energy and to natural gas. The researchers looked at mortality rates for adults and the elderly and found that mortality rates for both groups dropped, dramatically, over that period. Why? How? Good questions. Because the air is now cleaner thanks to an increase in natgas use, there has been a decrease in pollution linked and a correlating decrease in lung and heart disease deaths among adults and the elderly. It’s in the report. Of course people living longer because of natural gas isn’t good news for anti-fossil fuel nutters…
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Another Devastating Critique of Fracking/Premature Birth “Study”

In early October MDN brought you the story that a new so-called research study had been published claiming to show a connection between how close mommies live to a fracking site and an increase in premature births (see New Junk Science Claims PA Fracking Leads to Premature Births). We quickly debunked that study by showing the huge flaws in how it was “researched” (see EID’s Devastating Critique of PA Premature Birth “Study”). We have a further update. Dr. Gilbert Ross, senior director of medicine and public health at the American Council on Science and Health has weighed in with his own critique of the science behind the study. Dr. Ross says, “Realistically, there is no way hydraulic fracturing could have had an impact on pregnancy outcomes.” Here’s what else he says about this very flawed study…
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EID’s Devastating Critique of PA Premature Birth “Study”

exposeLast week MDN reported on a new junk science study that claims to have discovered the closer you live to fracking in Pennsylvania, the more likely your baby will be born prematurely (see New Junk Science Claims PA Fracking Leads to Premature Births). We pointed out the study was funded by left-leaning organizations. However, MDN friend Nicole Jacobs, from the always excellent Energy in Depth blog site, has done a top notch investigation of the study and its authors. Nicole found so many conflicts of interest and biases on the part of the study’s authors, it’s a wonder the study was approved for publication at all. Of course mainstream media will totally ignore the evidence that this is yet another political (not scientific) study–but that’s mainstream media for you. They don’t report news–they issue propaganda. Perhaps the most devastating fact unearthed by Nicole is that the rate of premature births in the study area, the rate that’s supposedly higher the closer you get to fracking–is actually below the overall national average of premature births. In other words, the study’s authors manipulated the data until they could get the results they wanted…
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New Junk Science Claims PA Fracking Leads to Premature Births

junk scienceIn January 2014, anti-drilling “researchers” jumped the gun at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia by announcing “preliminary” results of research in which they claim they can show a connection between shale drilling and low birth weights in newborn babies in Pennsylvania (see Another Flawed Fracking/Health Study Emerges…from Economics Conf). The “researchers” quickly walked back the announcement they made at the conference because, well, because they hadn’t actually done the research yet (see Researchers Backpedal on Bloomberg Story about Fracking & Babies). Another group of “researchers” claims to have done the research (same set of data) and published a new study along the same lines last week in the journal Epidemiology. The conclusion? The closer you live to shale drilling activity in PA, the more likely your baby will born prematurely. The study, called “Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Birth Outcomes in Pennsylvania, USA,” was partially funded by the ultra-liberal Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and subjected to a sham peer review process to give it the veneer of respectability…
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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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