By Zack Colman - 07/23/12 01:19 PM EDT
A group of researchers told the wire service that studies pinning rises in breast cancer rates to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are often dubious or just plain false.
In fracking, drillers inject a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals into tight rock formations to release natural gas.
The AP story notes that one of the higher-profile health claims made by the anti-fracking camp is misleading. They said drilling that began 10 years ago in north Texas’s Barnett Shale led to a jump in breast cancer rates. A host of medical researchers found no such spike.
Allegations about fracking contaminating drinking water and being more harmful to air quality than coal are equally unconvincing, the researchers told AP.
The Obama administration intends to impose fracking regulations this year. The comment period for those draft regulations was extended to mid-September.
Eager to assuage environmentalists and public health advocates, Obama has promised safeguards in natural-gas wells that would prevent chemicals from seeping into groundwater and also contain greenhouse gas emissions from drilling sites.
Natural-gas supporters have said Obama is moving too fast with regulations, the impetus for which is propelled by emotional cries and shaky scientific evidence. Regulations, if too strong or implemented too fast, could slow drilling activity that has provided cheap power for the country, those proponents have said.