Skewed Poll on Gas Drilling

A recent survey by the Civil Society Institute is so misleading that even professional skewed poll creators PennFuture and Gov. Rendell can pick up tips.

The only two things that should be derived from this survey is a) Pennsylvanians are not aware of the natural gas laws and regulations the state already has, and b) if you tell people there’s a chance their drinking water could be polluted by drilling they will become concerned.

The survey is composed entirely of leading questions. For example, when asking the respondents if they would get involved in community action groups against fracking (question D5), it begins,

“Imagine…a natural gas drilling project was proposed close enough to your home that there might be an impact on the quality of your drinking water.”

More disingenuous is question D6, which says,

“Congress and most states do not require energy companies that drill for natural gas to disclose the chemicals used in the process, even though there are concerns about the potential for contamination of drinking water….How would you suppose or oppose tighter public disclosure…”

While drilling is regulated federally, the process of fracking is heavily regulated by states. This Pennsylvania-specific survey ignores the fact that the Keystone State’s fracking regulations are among the strictest in the nation. In fact, the PA Department of Environmental Protection actively monitors water quality and the chemicals used in fracking, is working towards stronger disclosure rules, and many companies are disclosing all the information about their fracking fluids voluntary. Despite the claims the survey makes, there is no evidence that fracking is a threat to the environment.

Other questions such as, “Which of the following do you believe is the MOST URGENT concern today,” only gave “climate change”, “chemicals used in fracking”, “both of these” and “not sure” as possible answers. No wonder the issue scored high.

Despite all of this, 50 percent of respondents still said that even though fracking could potentially contaminate drinking water, it is acceptable because it lowers heating bills (question D14).

To learn about the facts of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, check out