How will my city hold up against the next superstorm? What’s the truth about the effect of fracking on my drinking water? These days our communities are faced with more and more complex issues. To make smart decisions that protect the health, welfare, and environment of our communities, we need access to current, accurate scientific information. With tools like our recently-released fracking information toolkit that helps citizens and policy makers make informed decisions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and our upcoming webcasted forum on how communities can improve prediction, response, and recovery in the face of extreme weather events—UCS is working to integrate science into community decision making so we can better plan for a healthier and safer future. —Karla
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|Ask a Scientist|
Scientific Integrity Initiative
|“With all the polarized discussion about fracking in the news lately, what does the evidence and data actually tell us about the risks associated with this extraction process for oil and natural gas?”—P. Simon, Oscoda, MI Technological advances such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”) have resulted in the rapid expansion of unconventional oil and gas extraction from shale and other tight rock formations that had been previously deemed inaccessible or too costly to tap. Fracking for oil and natural gas has now expanded into some 28 U.S. states, creating new risks in new places including drinking-water contamination, air pollution, and earthquake risks. MORE|
|This Just In|
|Join us: What can your community learn from New Jersey?
One year after Hurricane Sandy devastated communities on the east coast, UCS invites you to join us for a forum to learn from New Jersey’s circumstances and experience. Discover strategies that can help coastal states throughout the country use the latest available research to make smart planning decisions as we brace for more damaging storms in the future. MORE
|Science in Action|
|Fracking: You can help separate fact from fiction
When it comes to air and water quality, we can’t play around with the facts. Join UCS experts on October 17 to explore the pressing questions on people’s minds about fracking and its impact on communities. Using our new report findings, we’ll discuss the barriers that people face in trying to find this information, and offer some needed steps to overcome these obstacles. Join our web-based conversation today.
One of the more unfortunate developments in recent years is the new status quo within the GOP of demanding that emergency disaster aid be offset with cuts elsewhere in the budget, something previously only a minority of members of Congress like Sen. Coburn demanded. This callous new standard led Republicans, including Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe (R), to vote en masse against aid to the victims of Superstorm Sandy.
To justify his vote against Sandy aid in view of the clear need for aid to Oklahoma, Inhofe claimed yesterday that aid to victims of the Oklahoma tornado is somehow “totally different” than the Sandy aid he opposed.
Extending federal aid to victims of disasters like the Oklahoma tornado is obviously just the right thing to do, but it’s troubling that Republicans now hypocritically demand aid for their own states while attempting to withhold help other Americans who are the victims of tragic disasters.
Rep. Peter King (R), for one, got it right when he called out his fellow Republicans for “hypocrisy” while calling for immediate aid — without offsetting spending cuts — for the victims of the tragedy in Oklahoma:
I think they should get every penny they need. I’ve been through this. We can do the political games later on, the important thing is to get them the aid as quickly as they need it and not to make a political issue out of it.
BOTTOM LINE: Taking care of our fellow citizens when they are in need is what we do in America. Instead of playing politics with tragedies, we need to make sure people get the help they need when disaster strikes.