NYT: “Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush”

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Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

NYT: “Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush”

WASHINGTON - Today the New York Times published a piece titled “Behind Veneer, Doubt on Future of Natural Gas.”

On Saturday it ran the article “Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush,” which reported: “Gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the [drilling] companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry e-mails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells.

“In the e-mails, energy executives, industry lawyers, state geologists and market analysts voice skepticism about lofty forecasts and question whether companies are intentionally, and even illegally, overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves. Many of these e-mails also suggest a view that is in stark contrast to more bullish public comments made by the industry, in much the same way that insiders have raised doubts about previous financial bubbles. …

“‘The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work,’ an analyst from IHS Drilling Data, an energy research company, wrote in an e-mail on Aug. 28, 2009.”

WENONAH HAUTER, via Kate Fried, kfried at fwwatch.org.
Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, said today: “The fact is that the natural gas industry has exaggerated the economic benefits of fracking while downplaying its risks to public health and the environment. Meanwhile, when skeptical industry insiders evoke terms like ‘Ponzi scheme,’ ‘bubble,’ and ‘Enron’ to describe the actual potential of shale gas fracking, you know there’s a profound problem. …

“These revelations further prove that the Obama administration is pursuing a misguided course in encouraging the proliferation of this toxic, dangerous practice. Rather than incentivizing shale gas fracking it should devote resources to developing truly sustainable energy solutions that won’t harm public health or the environment. In the meantime, President Obama should impose a national ban on shale gas fracking.”

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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

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