Exactly Where is the "Safe" Fracking?

J. Mijin Cha

At a campaign stop in Ohio yesterday, President Obama said the following:

Now, you always hear these arguments that somehow there’s this huge contradiction between the environment and economic development, or the environment and energy production. And the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of folks right now that are engaging in hydraulic fracking who are doing it safely. The problem is, is that we haven’t established clear guidelines for how to do it safely, and informed the public so that neighbors know what’s going on, and your family, you can make sure that any industry that’s operating in your area, that they’re being responsible. (emphasis mine).

If there are people who are doing fracking safely, I’d like to meet them. Here is a sample of recent headlines:

We’ve covered the problems with fracking before- the health risks, the dangerous nature of the work, the economic damage it causes to communities, on and on. The President is right to say that there does not have to be a rift between environmental safety and economic development. However, there will be a huge problem between the two if the answer to our energy needs is fracking. As we’ve pointed out before, when we talk about the negative consequences of fracking, we’re not using conjecture of hyperbole. These are very real impacts that have happened and are almost guaranteed to happen again.

What I don’t get is this—there is far more political will to invest in and promote a technology that literally pours toxic chemicals down into the ground to break, or “frack,” natural gas out of rock than to invest in and promote something like solar or wind power. Do you ever read stories about how solar energy forces eviction of entire communities? Me, neither.