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Obama’s interior secretary says fracking bans are ‘wrong way to go’

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says fracking bans are based on a misunderstanding of science.

AP/Susan Montoya Bryan

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says fracking bans are based on a misunderstanding of science.

President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, says recent local and statewide bans on fracking are the “wrong way to go” and based on a misunderstanding of science.

Jewell, who is the government’s chief custodian of federal land and a former petroleum engineer, was speaking with San Francisco public radio station, KQED.

From KQED:

“There is a lot of misinformation about fracking,” Jewell said. “I think that localized efforts or statewide efforts in many cases don’t understand the science behind it and I think there needs to be more science.”

“These are very troubling comments,” said Kassie Siegel, who directs the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity.

“In essence Secretary Jewell seems to be saying that communities around the country, the Governor and Public Health Commissioner of New York, and the over 600,000 people who wrote to the Interior Department urging her to adopt a ban on fracking, don’t understand the science and are just acting out of an irrational fear of fracking,” Siegel said. “It’s insulting, and quite simply wrong.”

Jewell’s comments come two weeks after New York announced a statewide ban on fracking. Officials there cited possible public health and environmental concerns, however they said the science around the issue has yet to be settled.

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf called New York’s decision “unfortunate.” He hopes to enact a new tax on gas drillers and use the revenue to fund his priorities, including public education.

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