Science Should Be Bipartisan

After six years of investigation at a cost of $29 million, the Environmental Protection Agency finally has come to a conclusion about whether hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells poses a risk to drinking water supplies:

We don’t know.

Last year, EPA officials released a draft report on their study. It stated fracking has not caused “widespread, systemic” damage to drinking water in the United States.

This week, the agency released a new report, removing the original conclusion. Now, EPA official Tom Burke told The Associated Press, the conclusion is that, “Data gaps did not allow us to quantify how widespread the impacts are.”

In other words, EPA officials were unable to find a smoking gun, but want to leave the door open for new regulations on oil and gas drilling.

Fracking has been used for more than half a century. The practice has been used on more than 300,000 gas and oil wells. Reports of water supplies being contaminated are very rare.

Yet the EPA claims it cannot come to a conclusion on the technique.

Well, not actually. Remember, the agency did release one conclusion, but now is attempting to backpedal. Apparently, science doesn’t have to be settled if it doesn’t serve the right political purpose.