Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, recently criticized the natural gas industry for resisting public disclosure of information and opposing reasonable regulation.
Writing for the Huffington Post, Kennedy took natural gas producers to task for attacking the New York Times over a recent string of articles about natural gas drilling.
"Superb investigative journalism by the New York Times has brought the paper under attack by the natural gas industry," Kennedy wrote. "That campaign of intimidation and obfuscation has been orchestrated by top shelf players like Exxon and Chesapeake aligned with the industry's worst bottom feeders. This coalition has launched an impressive propaganda effort carried by slick PR firms, industry funded front groups and a predictable cabal of right wing industry toadies from cable TV and talk radio. In pitting itself against public disclosure and reasonable regulation, the natural gas industry is once again proving that it is its own worst enemy."
Calling himself "an early optimist on natural gas," Kennedy wrote that he once thought natural gas could help ease the country's dependence on coal and destructive coal mining practices. "My caveat was that the natural gas industry and government regulators needed to act responsibly to protect the environment, safeguard communities from irresponsible practices and to candidly inform the public about the true risks and benefits of shale extraction gas. The opposite has happened. "The industry's worst actors have successfully battled reasonable regulation, stifled public disclosure while bending compliant government regulators to engineer exceptions to existing environmental rules. Captive agencies and political leaders have obligingly reduced already meager enforcement resources and helped propagate the industry's deceptive economic projections," Kennedy wrote. "As a result, public skepticism toward the industry and its government regulators is at a record high. With an army of over 40,000 highly motivated anti-fracking activists in New York alone, popular mistrust of the industry is presenting a daunting impediment to its expansion."
Kennedy noted that he sits on New York State's High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel, which is developing rules for safe gas drilling. "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," he wrote.
He cited numerous instances where research has raised doubts about fundamental gas industry presumptions.
Kennedy also said the New York Times has provided excellent coverage of natural gas, including the following revelations:
To read Kennedy's Huffington Post article, click here.