Public policy is becoming more and more muddled by ambiguous science.
From global warming to frack water, from cell phone induced tumors to big glug soft drink containers, government, both local and national, grapple with trying to protect the public health while insuring that regulations don't pursue ghosts at the expense of business, employment and personal freedom.
It's especially difficult when the science changes almost daily.
Now comes a Duke University study that indicates that gas drilling in Northeast Pennsylvania did not contaminate nearby water wells with salty water, a by-product of Marcellus drilling operations.
Last year, the same team of researchers from Duke found that methane from gas wells had contaminated drinking water in Pennsylvania.
When each side of the issue of Marcellus shale drilling weighs in on the new study and its relationship to the old study, you will likely be more confused.
The Marcellus Shale Coalition, a drilling industry support group, has already proclaimed the new Duke study to be a vindication of its position that "freshwater aquifers in northeastern Pennsylvania have not been impacted by natural gas development activities."
However, the new paper's lead author said the research is still in its early stages and also found that naturally-occurring pathways can bring the brine up into shallow aquifers, especially in the bottom of valleys.
On that note, PennFuture, an environmental group, said the potential for natural pathways to bring deep brine to surface areas raises concerns about whether fracking in some areas could increase the risk of contamination.
Take your pick.
Chances are your preconception of the issue of whether Marcellus drilling is dangerous or safe will affect your conclusions of these scientific studies more than the data presented.
Now, do you want to know why it's been so hot this summer...?