Thursday, October 20, 2011

RFK Jr.'s War on Natural Gas

Robert F. Kennedy Jr should be removed from Governor Coumo's High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel immediately.

I and the other panelists are charged with developing recommendations to the Commissioner regarding rules that will hopefully safeguard New Yorkers from the kind of calamities caused by the natural gas industry to communities just across our border with Pennsylvania. We spend much of our time sorting truth from the web of myths spun about fracking by fast talking landsmen, smarmy CEOs, and federal regulators.

It is clear that he is incapable of putting politics aside and performing the task with any sort of professional integrity.

Today the Huffington Post published an opinion article by Mr. Kennedy whose first sentence should be enough to disqualify him as any sort of serious thinker. "Superb investigative journalism by the New York Times has brought the paper under attack by the natural gas industry." What a crock. This supposed journalism "has been slammed by everyone from the super-environmentalist/founder of the biggest enviro organization in PA/Former DEP secretary John Hanger, to the New York Times own ombudsman."(see comment section) This is agenda driven journalism being conducted at the NYT and the failure of Mr. Kennedy to grasp this fact or even concern himself enough to do a little research of his own should be cause for serious concern on the part of Governor Cuomo that his Advisory Panel has ulterior motives and are not the least bit interested in seeing that hydraulic fracturing is done safely, only that it isn't done at all.

Citing the NYT Drilling Down series as the first and final word on hydraulic fracturing is nearsighted enough, but he further attempts to insult our intelligence by citing an Cornell study whose results have been refuted by two subsequent studies, implying a link to increased incidents of breast cancer when no link has been made. He compares apples to oranges when stating an 80% reduction in Marcellus shale has reserves, treats allegations by the anti-gas community as fact and makes claims that he appears to have created out of thin air.

As I have said previously, Robert F Kennedy Jr was right in 2009.

Natural gas comes with its own set of environmental caveats. It is a carbon-based fuel and is extraction from shale, the most significant new source, if not managed carefully, can cause serious water, land use, and wildlife impacts, especially in the hands of irresponsible producers and lax regulators. But those impacts are dwarfed by the disastrous holocaust of coal and can be mitigated by careful regulation.

The giant advantage of a quick conversion from coal to gas is the quickest route for jumpstarting our economy and saving our planet.

New Yorkers deserve a fair and honest accounting on the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing from those in positions of authority. It would seem that Mr. Kennedy has a difficult time with both of these virtues. Might I suggest that he recuse his position on the High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel and head back to Cape Cod where I am confident someone right now is working on a plan erect a wind farm in the middle of Nantucket Sound!

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