Refuting the NY Times 03-27 Article

The article provided in the following link ran on the front page of The New York Times on Sunday March 27th.

This is proof that even once respected newspapers can resort to biased yellow journalism. It appears that the paper was blatantly and crudely trying to goad readers into giving up their ability to think critically and exerting knee jerk anti-gas influence on the Delaware River Basic Commission as they consider extending hearings. Had the NYT been interested in truly informative article writing and quality journalism instead of running such an unprofessional, biased, and inaccurate piece of fiction in an attempt to influence DRBC efforts they would have included the following information.

John Hangers wrote at length in his personal blog refuting and rebutting the NYT's misleading, incomplete, inaccurate, and even false information. You can read the full posts at the following links.


Here are some key excerpts from those blogs (Note: Mr. Hanger also previously served as president and CEO of PennFuture, considered the leading environmental advocacy organization in Pennsylvania):

  • “Pennsylvania is the only state that has hired substantial or any staff for its drilling operation.  The NYT does not say that, because it does not fit its narrative of lax Pennsylvania regulation.  Indeed, the reporter deliberately did not include a long list of actions by DEP that represented strong enforcement.”
  • “The NYT piece makes errors when discussing the 2008 high TDS levels on the Mon River. … The NYT piece does not state clearly or fully that in October 2008 DEP issued orders to municipal sewage plants discharging to the Mon River or its tributaries to cut by 95% its drilling wastewater volumes. … Reporting accurately and fully this action plus that DEP issued the Public Water Advisory would not fit with the article's determined narrative of lax regulation.”
  • “I was informed by agency radiation experts that the radiation levels were not a threat to truck drivers, workers at sewage treatment facilities or the public.  … I believe the agency staff were handling this issue in a serious, careful manner.  I still believe that to be in the case.”
  • “[T]he DEP gas drilling regulatory program was reviewed in 2010 by an Independent Auditing organization called STRONGER that includes reviewers from industry, other states, and environmental organizations.  The DEP regulatory program received high marks.  Of course the reporter did not include the fact of this independent audit in the story.” (Note: A copy of the STRONGER report for PA can be found here.)
  • SHOCK: “[T]hough I am quoted in the piece, this reporter never interviewed me. … The words that I find myself saying in this piece were said by me somewhere at some time and in some context but they were not said in the context of an interview for this piece. The reporter never called me after January 18th for any purpose including to confirm the quotation that he put together for me. The reporter did not ask the new administration for my contact information after I left office.”
Here is a link to another article...
If that is not independent enough for you, then consider reading the STRONGER independent report mentioned above. Again here is a link to it.


Dr. Michael Economides has also written an excellent rebuttal that should appear shortly in one of our major papers.  Numerous other people are on the case as well.

The timing of the New York Times piece was obviously intended to influence the DRBC deliberation and create a groundswell of New York Times readers calling for hearing extensions before the Commission meets on Wednesday to decide.

It is also important for everyone to understand exactly what the NYT piece is all about.

1. Much of it is sourced from ProPublica, a group that promotes assorted radical causes and has made natural gas a pet issue.  It is funded by "longtime philanthropic allies of George Soros and Peter Lewis, Herb and Marion Sandler, whom Time Magazine named as 2 of the 25 people most responsible for the 2008 financial crisis.  They are the founders and principal funders of ProPublica. From 2006 to 2009, they gave $30 million to the enterprise through the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation."

2. The article is clearly timed to try to deliver a knockout blow to gas.  The Catskill Mountainkeeper was among the first to announce it (no surprise) and calls it a "game changer."  Bear in mind some of the wealthiest and most powerful people on Earth are behind the Catskill Mountainkeeper - the Rockefeller family.  They essentially own it and direct it - the tax returns, financial statements and lobbying reports make that clear.  None of what's happening is coincidental.

3. The article, as usual, is largely speculation, with one "could" or "might" after another, numerous undocumented assertions and twisting of phrasing from regulations to suggest every ounce of water in every stream is now or should be drinkable after treated water is discharged into it.  That is absurd on its face and yet constitutes the foundational assumption of the article.  Our opponents, and the New York Times, are intentionally confusing drinking water and stream quality standards to gin up fear, their stock-in-trade.

4. The article quotes EPA documents to say things such as "E.P.A. officials anticipate an escalation of human health and environmental impacts as oil and gas development increases."  What does this mean?  Does EPA have evidence to support that claim?  It is the kind of vague statement that always ends up in such documents because it can never be disproven.  Two wells will, of course, have more impact than one.  The question is whether the impacts are significant and how they measure against the benefits to be had.  Environmental radicals start with the assumption that no cost or impact is acceptable regardless of significance or benefit, the kind of false reasoning that would logically demand we stop building homes, driving cars and living, as any human action will have impacts on the environment.  Nevertheless, it pervades the documents in this case.

It's also important we not overestimate the New York Times influence.  It is has a major influence, to be sure, but has been declining in circulation for years and is in serious financial trouble.  But for the high-priced loans it got from a Mexican investor who already owns a big chunk of the company in 2009, it would probably not exist today.  It is headed by the radical son of the last publisher and he's taking it over the cliff.

Unsurprisingly, the same kind of personalities are in charge of the Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council.  It's no wonder they think alike and work together - no conspiracy is required because they all come from the same nest and flock in the same place.  These organizations, including the New York Times, are the tools of the wealthy scions of ages past, people with a strong vested interest in non-development, in keeping things as they are, with them in control and us as their serfs.  Nonetheless, they are losing.  We are winning and that's why they are throwing everything they've got against us.

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