Friday, January 7, 2011
Here's something you don't come across every day: an industry front group defending its environmental record ... and citing as evidence claims it long opposed the very regulations it now says will protect us.
This awkward moment comes courtesy of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which represents companies drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus shale rock formation. The Coalition was moved to act by this widely circulated Associated Press story. The story contended that
In Pennsylvania, the liquid that gushes from gas wells is only partially treated for substances that could be environmentally harmful, then dumped into rivers and streams from which communities get their drinking water.
After running in papers around the state, however, the story drew a rebuttal from John Hanger, the head of the state's Department of Environmental Protection. Hanger called the piece "appalling," maintaining that "every drop of tap water that was publicly treated is required to meet the safe drinking water standard."
Today, the Marcellus Shale Coalition responded with a statement of its own. "AP Lets Sensational Story on PA Wastewater Fly on a Monday ..." the statement charges. But a second headline asserts " ... One Day Later, Readers Learn the Actual Truth."
Under the latter headline are links to articles calling AP's claims into question. One links to Hanger's letter; others connect you to a rebuttal published by Kathryn Klaber, who heads the Coalition.
So far, so good. But the very first link under the "Actual Truth" headline brings up this story in the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal. And while that story too has Hanger griping about the AP piece, it also includes this assertion:
The state Department of Environmental Protection fought for two years to get [a stricter] water-quality standard standard enacted and keep frackwater from overwhelming Pennsylvania streams, [Hanger] said.
"The industry opposed us at every step of the way," he said. (Emphasis added)
OK, now wait a minute. Hanger is saying the industry fought -- "at every step of the way" -- the very regulations it's now boasting about? Huh.
Seems like a strange story for the industry to be citing in its own defense. And maybe next week, the Coalition will issue a second rebuttal, objecting to the material cited in their first one. But for now, if the Coalition touts Hanger's claims as "the Actual Truth," who are we to judge?
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