MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Editorials

July 11, 2014

Politics obscure science

Discussions regarding the possibility that hydraulic fracturing is causing an increase in Oklahoma earthquakes are being driven by politics.

Hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — is a process where water and chemicals are used to loosen underground petroleum deposits.

The liquid mixture is forced into underground rock formations with enough pressure to move rock to allow oil and natural gas to be more easily extracted.

A recent report by the journal Science says that four wells may have triggered more than 100 small-medium earthquakes in the past five years.

Politics — more accurately, the politics of money — are being thrown over the issue like a blanket.

Fact is being obscured by the blanket of politics.

We believe both sides are not using science.

We trust scientists because they seek to determine whether information can be proven true or false.

Politics obscuring the truth makes people wary of any answer.

Politics is driving “answers” to fracking and earthquakes in much the same way that it does with global climate change.

We want to believe science and scientists. The noise surrounding major environmental issues make that difficult at times.

It is easy to forget that Oklahoma does sit on more than one fault line.

It is possible that the recent increase in earthquakes are just a natural process of sitting on a fault line.

It is possible that the earthquakes are being caused by fracking.

We need scientists to discuss science without the backdrop of politics. Politics hinder finding answers.

We need to be able to trust scientists and science.

Politicians need to get out of the way and fund scientists to discover answers no matter the outcome.

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