Dimock, PA

Cross-posted at Forbes.com’s WLF contributor site

Last weekend, opponents of less expensive, cleaner-burning natural gas (and probably any other fossil fuel) marched on Washington. Among the litany of claims made at Saturday’s Stop the Frack Attack, and against hydraulic fracturing in general, “water pollution” is often first and foremost. Unfortunately for the activists, the facts aren’t on their side with this assertion, an inconvenient truth confirmed last week by their beloved Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”Look what’s happening in Dimock, PA” has been a rallying cry for anti-fracturing forces over the last few years. A scene from the anti-natural gas propaganda film Gasland purported to show a Dimock resident lighting their tap water on fire. Just like scenes of Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River burning in 1969 inspired Congress to pass the Clean Water Act, activists hoped that this image would ignite a national movement against fracturing.

But science has gotten in the way. EPA announced June 25 that extensive testing of Dimock wells revealed that “there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.” This confirms earlier EPA and Pennsylvania environmental officials’ tests, whose results were denied and decried by natural gas opponents.

The silence from these activists on EPA’s latest announcement so far has been deafening. No doubt their public media demonization campaign, described so well in a recent Washington Legal Foundation publication (Misinformation Campaign
Targets Hydraulic Fracturing
) will march on. We won’t be surprised if natural gas’s critics dismiss EPA’s test results as flawed or politically motivated, or if they simply ignore this development and keep flacking the water pollution claim.

There’s two things we’ve learned here at WLF from 35 years of being a public interest advocate for free enterprise — anti-business activists are relentless, and they never let facts get in their way.