Recently I highlighted the thoughts of Taury Smith, New York state's official geologist and self described liberal democrat. In an article posted at the Times Union Mr. Smith argued that the "spin was on" with regard to hydraulic fracturing. He argued that years of research did not support the rhetoric being presented by the opponents of "hydrofracking." That the cited problems are exaggerated and overblown. That true environmentalists should be in strong support of the increased use of natural gas as it is overall much better for the environment than coal and oil.
He of course committed the cardinal sin of liberalism and thought for himself. Predictably this has put him in some hot water with environmentalists. The course of action is not to debate the facts, but instead smear the messenger. Within four days of the original article voices of opposition have their say.
"Smith is clearly in the pocket of the gas industry and has spread the view in muliple email letters. It doesn't take a rocket scientist; I am aware that when somebody is getting money from an industry it does sway opinion." (This is an outright lie. Mr. Smith is an unpaid consultant, but facts aren't the point.)
"He works from the gas industry, so it might be extremely difficult for him to notice that most of his statements are not supported by facts. Perhaps he doesn't read the (New York) Times.
Mrs Low of course works as a manager of a classical musician so her authority on this matter is suspect at best. She reads the NYT so her ego supersedes her intellect.
While character assassination is the predictable outcome for someone speaking out of turn, the tragic irony here is that the Mr. Smith has been silenced by the New York State Department of Education. This is the department that oversees the New York State Museum geology unit that is now prohibiting Mr. Smith from speaking with reporters, or take calls on the matter.
You should definitely read the whole article.
An editorial in today's Times Union takes note of the hypocrisy. In "A Bad Lesson in Censorship" the editorial board takes issue with the silencing of political opponents noting that New York state has been down this road before, only the political arguments were reversed, with profoundly different reactions.
From the New York Post 4/3/11