Mary Beth Adams recently published in the Journal of Environmental Quality an extremely interesting study on the effects of frack fluid on vegetation. The short answer? Things die. The long answer: “Two years after fluid application, 56% of the trees within the fluid application area were dead…all tree species present on the site showed damage symptoms and mortality.”
So… it’s pretty simple. I could actually end my blog right there. The only big criticism of this study is that it was done over a small area. I don’t know about you, but from my doggone point of view, I’m glad the frack fluid application testing wasn’t completed over a larger area!!! Seriously! That is a criticism? Ugh. I’ll stick my head in a hole now.
This study does more to point out the obvious than it does to “injure” the gas industry. I cannot understand why humans are so caught up in science, and yet most humans don’t understand that science is as biased as the people who conduct it. I’m not saying that this is a good thing or a bad thing– it’s just the way it is.
There are, generally, precautionary measures taken by scientists to help prevent the biased nature of humanity from influencing the “objective” nature of scientific inquiry. One of these precautions involves having other humans vet your research. This is why we have peer-reviewed journals. This is why we have Institutional Review Boards.
And this is why I was so upset when I was blogging about PSU yesterday. Similarly, it’s why I’m upset that one would actually even bother lodging a complaint about Mary Beth Adams’ report. She recognizes the study was over a small area. It’s not like she was trying to cover anything up.
She didn’t claim fracking will kill every living thing on the planet. She just said that this “study identifies the need for further research to help understand the nature and the environmental impacts of hydrofracturing fluids to devise optimal, safe disposal strategies.” Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
Respond to the criticism anyway, Mary Beth. If they complained about your small-area study, then I suggest using the Capitol Mall or Central Park next time.