community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
tes on RFK, Jr.'s defense of fracking in the Huffington Post
by Robert Jereski Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 at 5:03 PM
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has finally acknowledged some terrible things about the fracking-for-natural gas industry. This took the good work of a lot of activists outraged at his appearance in ads for the gas industry and his groups' promotion of gas as a 'transition' fuel. Tragically for New York, however, by the middle of his opinion piece, it is clear that he hasn't even convinced himself.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has finally acknowledged some terrible things about the fracking-for-natural gas industry. This took the good work of a lot of activists outraged at his appearance in ads for the gas industry and his groups' promotion of gas as a 'transition' fuel. Tragically for New York, however, by the middle of his opinion piece, it is clear that he hasn't even convinced himself, and that he ignores the need to ban fracking and the widespread demand by engaged environmental activist that it be banned.
Mr. Kennedy is on New York Governor Cuomo’s Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel. Rather than listen to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who in communities throughout the state have voted to ban fracking in their part of New York, Mr. Kennedy praises his buddy on the fracking panel, Mark Boling, from Southwestern Energy, a massive gas industry player.
Kennedy is Still a Booster of Safe Fracking, Despite all his Pained Reasons not to be. Why?
Because he is still a shill for the gas industry, who is proceeding with phase two of the Critical Path Energy Summit's plans about fracking: "Make it Safe." Robert F. Kennedy's recent, apparently purely theatrical, diatribe against the gas industry in the Huffington Post spills much ink repeating industry talking points and then concludes that fracking is safe and that environmentalists will support it if the promised jobs and royalties materialize and if it is 'reasonably regulated'. What??
For someone claiming to speak the "truth" why no mention of widespread popular movement to ban fracking?
A year ago regulator/politicians, gas industry CEOs (including Kennedy's mentor on NYS Governor Cuomo Fracking Advisory Panel Mark Boling) and fellow pro-'safe' fracking NGO representatives concluded that the pro-gas p.r. strategy had failed and that the public was overwhelmingly against fracking. They decided they needed to reframe 'gas'.
Since their summit, Kennedy, Boling and others claim to have made the following progress: (http://aspensciencecenter.org/projects/natural_gas_1):
Below is quote from Aspen Energy Summit site revealing collusion between Kennedy (of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Riverkeeper), Carl Pope and Michael Brune (Sierra Club), Aubrey McClendon and Boling (Chesapeake and Southwestern Energy respectively), and pro-fracking politicians:
"Our 2010 Natural Gas Solutions Summit 1.0 was convened to chart the critical paths that will enable natural gas to achieve its optimal potential as that source—environmentally, economically, politically and globally.
A year later, that gathering of leaders can claim impressive results, in terms of new alliances, important ongoing initiatives, and fundamental changes in the US energy approach, among them:
• Developing a system for 100% transparency in the disclosure of chemical ingredients in hydraulic fracturing fluids that does NOT infringe on trade secrets
• Developing a model regulatory framework designed to ensure well bore integrity throughout the full lifecycle of a hydraulically fractured well.
• Forming a legal team and petitioning the EPA to enhance Natural Gas use: define and enforce Clean Air Act provisions, MACT Boiler Rule etc
• Development and publishing of tabletop life-cycle analysis of carbon impact coal vs. natural gas
• An alliance of NGOs, industry, government leaders committed to replacing coal with natural gas"
Big Gas isn't just going after the NY Times, as Kennedy claims. Their PR cast and crew are congregating in Texas soon to prepare a new assault on grassroots pro-ban anti-fracking activists by studying "militant NGO's" websites to take their PR campaign to a new level of "combat." People who are against fracking aren't just activists in the streets, but entire communities, regions, even states and countries.
Fracking has been banned by elected officials representing hundreds of thousands of people in numerous cities and towns throughout the country--places like Dryden, NY (pop. 13,532), Ithaca, NY (pop. 18,198), (Morgantown, West Virginia (pop. 26,809), Baldwin, Pa (pop. 19,767), Buffalo, NY (pop. 292, 648), and Pittsburg, Pa. (pop. 305, 704). Seems like something a truthsayer might breathe a little mention of.
RFK says there are 40,000 activists. Okay, well there are many more people who have banned fracking in their communities. Will those people simply be angry about promised jobs not materializing? No. We know what we want and it's not what Kennedy's pushing.
Here are a few relevant annotated quotes below.
"In pitting itself against public disclosure and reasonable regulation, the natural gas industry is once again proving that it is its own worst enemy".
Note: Calls for disclosure and regulation of the fracking industry have been made by large DC-tied environmental organizations, many of which have long supported methane as a transitional fuel, without sound evidence on which to base this pro-polluting industry spin. Communities impacted by the fracking industry are much more inclined to ban fracking so these 'environmental' groups are trotted out to declare that bans or bills to impose criminal sanctions on frackers are 'politically unrealistic'.
This is Kennedy's role: he pens this op ed pretending to make amends to the environmental community that has been outraged by his support for fracking (through the pro-'safe' fracking NRDC and Riverkeeper and through his ads for the fracking industry). The Op Ed sidles up to the powerful NYTimes, gives a useful list of many of the egregious crimes of the industry, regulators and legislators revealed by the NYTimes, but pairs these outrages with the same old defense of fracking!
What a sleight of hand! Guess they don't pay Kennedy the big bucks for nothing.
If only the gas industry were more honest and forthright and allowed "reasonable regulation", we would all be happy and allow the country to be fracked because . . . (Kennedy implies) fracked gas is better for the climate than coal. That's the industry lie he continues to repeat implicitly as he makes a false mea culpa about having colluded with them in Aspen, and appeared in gas industry propaganda!
The Cuomo 'Fracking Advisory Panel is stacked with pro-'safe' fracking advocates like Kennedy and his 'bright light' Mark Boling. Here's the Gas Main report, entitled "A GRASSROOTS PERSPECTIVE: Is the DEC Spending Taxpayer Funds on Propaganda to Promote ‘Safe’ Fracking? A Look at New York Governor Cuomo’s Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel":
It may be true that the industry could have more easily continued to deceive and damage the communities of American people as it moved into the more densely populated Eastern states if it had pursued the p.r. strategy suggested by Kennedy here. But we're not interested in being convinced by lies of 'safe' fracking.
Fracking is opposed by all real environmentalists. Period.
Kennedy oped here:
The Fracking Industry's War On The New York Times -- And The Truth
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.President, Waterkeeper Alliance; Professor, Pace University Posted: 10/20/11 02:18 PM ET