New poll: most scientists oppose increased fracking

An important new poll on science surveyed two groups: (1) members of the public; and (2) scientists connected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The poll covered a range of science, engineering and technology issues, and found a "broad public support for government investment in scientific research." Most people believe that science has had a positive impact on our environment and that government investment is essential for scientific progress.

There are many interesting findings in the poll, but for this blog post I wanted to highlight the results when people were asked specific questions about fracking.

66% of scientists and 51% of the public oppose the increased used of fracking to extract oil and gas.

The survey of scientists was conducted with a random sample of 3,748 U.S.-based members of the AAAS--the world's largest general scientific society with members from all scientific fields. Most respondents hold one or more doctorate degrees.

The survey of the general public had a national sample of 2,002 adults 18 years of age or older living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

These aren't surprising findings, considering all of the recent scientific evidence about the risks of fracking, such as those to human health and clean air. Officials at the federal, state, and local levels should ensure that policies pertaining to oil and gas development are based on science about the risks to public health and the environment.