Hydraulic fracturing of rock formations deep underground to release rich oil and gas deposits has been used by drillers for decades. In the process the practice, often referred to as fracking, has been studied by the industry, independent researchers and state and federal regulatory agencies.
Fracking gets a clean bill of health every time. Those who claim it threatens the environment are wrong. Last week, another study, this one by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, drove home the point.
But all those studies have involved drilling where the process, including well casings, was conducted within strict industry guidelines.
While most fracking is safe, then, state regulators need to keep their eyes open for the occasional rogue operator who takes shortcuts that make all the studies meaningless - and
endangers West Virginians.