Green-Sponsored Poll About Fracking Is Unbelievably Biased

Andrew Follett | Energy and Science Reporter

A new poll commissioned by environmentalists could barely get a majority of Marylanders to oppose fracking.

The poll, commissioned by the anti-fracking group Don’t Frack Maryland, found that only 56 percent of Maryland residents approve a ban on fracking in the state.

“After more than six years of study, the New York Health Department declared in 2014 that “fracking” for natural gas posed too many human and environmental health risks to be done safely, so the governor banned the practice of fracking in the state,” the poll question began. “In Maryland, no fracking yet occurs, but studies have found that fracking here would pose similar risks. Knowing this, do you support or oppose a ban on fracking in Maryland?”

Such “push polling” is described by The New York Times as “not really polls at all,” which are, “often criticized as a particularly sleazy form of negative political campaigning,” which is “incompatible with authentic polling.”

New York’s fracking ban was a political statement based on “studies” funded and written by greens activists who have publicly acknowledged their biases toward the process. Energy In Depth has written about extensively, and testified before, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on the topic. Maryland’s Departments of the Environment and Natural Resources concluded after a three-year study that found “the risks of Marcellus Shale development can be managed to an acceptable level.”

Maryland’s state Department of the Environment proposed new rules in September which would prevent fracking within 1,000 feet of a private drinking water well, require four layers of steel casings and cement around wells, and force energy companies to replace any contaminated water.

These rules “will be the most stringent and protective environmental shale regulations in the country,” Ben Grumbles, Maryland’s Environmental Secretary, said in a statement. “If fracking ever comes to western Maryland, these rigorous regulations will be in place beforehand to help ensure safe and responsible energy development.”

State officials said they expect fracking regulations to be formally proposed in mid-November with a 30-day public comment period. State lawmakers have until the end of the year to formally adopt the regulations.

Maryland has a total ban on fracking which lasts through late 2017, and environmentalists are worried state officials won’t regulate fracking as strictly as possible.

Environmentalists and the oil and gas industry disliked Maryland’s previously proposed regulations. Environmentalists claim the regulations would lead to earthquakes and groundwater contamination, despite being drafted by former Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The state’s current Republican Gov. Larry Hogan supports fracking because of the new jobs and wealth that will flow into the state. Several counties in western Maryland are on top of the Marcellus shale formation, which is the largest reserve of natural gas in the U.S. Even modest landowners on the shale formation can make up to $35,000 a month in royalties payments.

O’Malley and the state’s Democratic-led General Assembly imposed a moratorium on fracking in 2011, citing alleged risks of groundwater contamination and increased earthquake activity.

Scientists and government bodies have repeatedly agreed that fracking does not cause the contamination of groundwater. EPA science advisers recently stated that fracking has no “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water in the United States.” The EPA’s assessment of fracking risks to groundwater concurs with numerous scientific studies from regulatory bodiesacademics, the U.S. Geological Survey , the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

“To my knowledge, I still have not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater,” Obama’s Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz told reporters.

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Tags : environmental protection agency larry hogan martin omalley maryland national science foundation new york the new york times united states geological survey
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