This Tuesday at 10:00 AM, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, entitled Natural Gas Drilling: Public Health and Environmental Impacts.
This hearing will come just two days after The Hill announced that it had received an advance copy of a study of the climate impact of fracking by Cornell professor Robert Howarth. The study finds that fracking has as much, or even more, of a negative impact on climate change than coal, because fracking releases large amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
This study may have a strong impact itself – on the debate over whether to allow fracking, which creates significant risks of pollution of groundwater, to be conducted over large areas of the United States that have been heretofore untouched. Natural gas has been promoted as a “clean burning” energy source, when compared to coal and petroleum, but the release of dangerous gases in the mining process has not been taken into account in such analyses.
Professor Howarth is not currently on the list of people invited to testify at the committee hearing.