Like debates, a firm grasp of basic facts is not known to be GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s strong suit. So Perry surprised a few town hall attendees in Iowa yesterday when he confidently asserted that there is absolutely no proof that hydraulic fracturing (more commonly known as fracking) for natural gas causes groundwater pollution.
“We can have this conversation but you cannot show me one place, not one where there is a proven pollution of groundwater by hydraulic fracking,” Perry said, interrupting an Iowan concerned about fracking’s environmental effects. “That’s false,” replied one audience member, spurring Perry to demand published proof and add, “I’m truly offended that the American public would be hoodwinked by stories that do not scientifically hold up”:
PERRY: Bring me the paper, bring me the paper, show me the paper. I am truly offended that the American public would be hoodwinked by stories that do not scientifically hold up. If that was true, it would be on the front page of every newspaper. It would be on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News. Everybody would be running that story. We have been using hydraulic fracturing in my home state for years and this is a fear tactic that the left is using and the environmental community is using that absolutely, excuse the pun, does not hold water.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Not true.
PERRY: Bring me the evidence and once we do that, you show it to me, and I’ll be the first to say you’ve got a point.
In fact, if Perry wants to be shown “one place” where fracking has polluted groundwater, he has at least five to choose from. Pavillion, Wyoming; Sublette County, Wyoming; Dimock, Pennsylvania; Bradford County, Pennsylvania; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are all home to confirmed cases of groundwater contamination caused by fracking.
In fact, Perry’s home state is so concerned about the consequences of fracking that it joined Colorado in adopting rules “that require oil and natural-gas companies to disclose the chemicals they inject underground.” The new rules show that Texas is “serious about regulating the rapidly expanding hydraulic fracturing,” the Wall Street Journal noted.
But since Perry seems to have missed all this, perhaps a photo will be proof enough. After all, nothing says fracking like a sulfur-smelling fireball in a glass.