Making Resolutions

Happy New Years from CLEAN Resources! Hopefully you have enjoyed a relaxing holiday season with friends and loved ones.

As 2015 begins, Americans are engaged in the annual ritual of making resolutions for the new year. Might we suggest including an energy related resolution on your list?

In recent years, the debate over our energy future in Texas, and beyond, has been dominated by extreme voices with ideological goals that are not related to the facts and science of energy policy matters. Therefore, the public discussion would improve if everyone agreed to approach energy issues in 2015 with an open mind and devotion to getting the facts from credible sources.

An op-ed in The Bryan-College Station Eagle by Texas A&M professor Dan Hill offers some useful perspective for consuming news on shale energy topics. Professor Hill, who serves as the Noble Chair of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University, urges the public "to be savvy consumers of information and to keep an eye out for claims masquerading as ‘science,' which have been widely discredited by scientists and experts."

For Hill, being a "savvy consumer" involves "knowing the background" on energy issues in order to "(keep) a level head and (make) decisions based on sound science."

Hill gives several specific recent examples of activist attempts to create media attention by hyping debunked studies and information lacking context. These misinformation efforts include an effort to link breast cancer rates in North Texas associated with a boost in drilling. Hill notes that this claim is particularly spurious and offensive, as there is "no credible evidence to support" the claim. "Experts from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the Texas Cancer Registry, and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Dallas all said there is no evidence of an increase in cancers in the counties in question."

Hill obviously understands the ideological motivations of anti-shale activists, and is wise in his warning to communities in Texas. Hill advises his neighbors that they "should not be alarmed by extremist voices who invoke discredited allegations about public health concerns in an attempt to stop an industry they oppose."

Check out the op-ed by Hill and resolve to obtain and promote the truth about clean and responsible shale energy development in 2015!

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