True Colors

In the public debate over America’s energy future, environmental activists have long claimed that their extreme positions are simply a reflection of the best available science on energy issues. 

This cloak of legitimacy is unraveling as these activists are repeatedly shown to be anti-fossil fuel zealots who are willing to say anything to promote their cause. Simon Lomax of Breaking Energy cast a harsh light on this phenomenon earlier this week in a blog post that explores the abuse and misuse of science by anti-shale energy advocates.

In his post ("New York Fracking Ban Throws Peer Review Under the Bus"), Lomax focuses on "a research paper touted as peer-reviewed science" that was "used to justify New York’s ban on shale gas development." Lomax explains that this document was used as evidence of need for the New York hydraulic fracturing ban and New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker "held up the paper – literally – as an example of the ‘bona fide scientific literature’ that supported his decision to block shale gas development in the Empire State." The problem with this research paper is that it "was actually peer-reviewed by active opponents of shale gas development who concealed their bias from the scientific community and the general public." Lomax explains that this "clearly violates well-established standards of peer review" as understood in the scientific community.

While the Lomax post focuses on this New York incident, these same tactics have been used by radical environmentalists in other states, including Texas. For example, in North Texas there have been bogus claims related to cancerair pollutionflaming water, etc. that have unfortunately been taken by some as the truth on these issues.

There is no doubt that legitimate scientific research must guide our energy policies at all levels of government. Unfortunately, one side of the energy debate has not taken this responsibility seriously. It is important for supporters of shale energy to be vigilant in ensuring that activists are not allowed to color this debate with misinformation and pseudoscience.

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