Speaking of Vernal and Fracking and Dead Babies…

Some of you may recall that last month I became an involuntary expert on the town of Vernal, Utah. My car broke down Saturday afternoon and I landed there until a mechanic could look at it on Monday. The people were nice enough; the town showed plenty of new construction, and while small, Vernal was obviously the center of a very large rural community, sprawled over a vast basin.

So when Rolling Stone published this article about a spike in infant mortality in Vernal, it caught my eye.

Note, please, in the interest of rational debate, that the horrific toxicity of fracking and the sudden surge in infant mortality and deformation in Vernal have not been causally linked. Random numbers have a way of clumping sometimes, so when you look over an entire nation you get odd concentrations of disease just by random chance. Or there might be another root cause. Rolling Stone doesn’t mention that — they presume a cause and work backwards, which makes them just as bad at science as the anti-vaccers.

But let’s not kid ourselves; this horror coming at the same time fracking went full-speed would be a hell of a coincidence. Next time you fill up at the pump and reflect happily on the current price of gasoline, remember the babies of Vernal.