So, I'm either biased, have specific knowlege, or both. I work in the oil industry, though downstream (Oil Refineries.) I'm against fracking, first and foremost. Traditional drilling is cleaner, more established, and safer. However, this article is all over the place when it comes to the dangers of fracking, and seems extremely and consiously biased against it. Just to get this out of the way: Is it concerning that there is an extreme higher-than-average number of stillbirths in a company town based on fracking? Yes. Is the most likely cause residual run-off from fracking operations? Yes.
What I am concerned about is the tone and accuracy of the article. A small example:
"In Karnes County alone, we had two blowouts last week, one that covered everything in a coat of oil and methane, including people's homes and livestock," says Sharon Wilson[...]
Unless refrigerated, methane is a lighter-than-air gas. I don't understand how anything can be covered in a coat of it. Crude does contain methane, but it also contains propane, pentane, gas oils, and heavy oils (among many other products of crude.) I seems disingenuous to call out methane specifically. There are also other slight technical innaccuracies, but it's unimportant to the article as a whole. Suffice it to say, I'm unsure if this article was reviewed for accuracy.
Also, I cannot put my trust into the protagonist of the article, Young. These two paragraphs in particular stand out:
When he retired to Idaho, Young joined her folks there and opened a health-food store. A mother of two, she earned a degree in naturopathy, then found her true vocation, birthing babies. "I'd been working with lots of people, some cancer patients and chronically sick people, and here were these clients who had a clean slate — or would have, if their moms had ate healthy. I thought, 'Oh, this is what I'm put here to do. Bring 'em into the world with no drugs or toxins, then teach the moms to raise them that way.' "
She put together a method that was two parts nutrition to one part personal trainer. "From the git-go, my girls give up flour, milk, sugar, soda, caffeine and anything microwaved — and they know I'll urine-test them to check." They exercise for at least an hour each day and do floor work to bring the baby's head down to the proper position for birthing. "I don't have patients, I have athletes — and you should see the kids that come from them."
I personally find naturopathy to be pseudoscience, and because she's used as a heroine in the article, her perspective on fracking is the predominant one. Let's just say she's not the person I would be going to when trying to prove my point about the dangers of fracking.
The comments had this artcle as well: Iinfant deaths not tied to bad air However,I have no clue as to the trustworthiness of that article, either.
And then it closes with this:
She tested the water with a monitoring device used by drillers; most of the batches tested were positive for extreme toxicity from hydrogen sulfide, H2S, one of the most deadly of the gases released by drilling. [...] Young says she found were more than 7,000 times the EPA threshold for safety.
I'm confused, because according to [this (pdf, World Health Organization,)](http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/en/hydrogensulfide.pdf) "it is unlikely that anyone could
consume a harmful dose of hydrogen sulfide in drinking-water."
To close, I am concerned about the practices by oil companies described in the article. Federal inspectors need to be sent out ASAP, and I hope this article may spur some action regarding this. However, I don't like this particular article on the matter, and I hope a more sensible and reasonable article is written.
"I can nail a coyote in the pasture from 100 yards."
Yeah, well I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, they're not much bigger than two meters!