A new “report” from anti-fossil fuel activist groups Earthworks and Clean Air Task Force today published a study claiming negative health impacts due to oil and gas activity in Texas. But critics are already blasting the study from Earthworks, “known as a biased organization with a key mission of slowing or stopping the development of hydrocarbons in the country”:
Texas energy industry leaders aren’t convinced. Earthworks is known as a biased organization with a key mission of slowing or stopping the development of hydrocarbons in the country, said Ed Longanecker, president of Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners.
“The Texas Department of State Health Services also completed multiple investigations and found no evidence of a ‘cancer cluster’ or related health issues” in counties where oil and gas development emerged, Longanecker said. “These anti-oil and natural gas policies being advanced by politically-biased agencies and environmental activist organizations offer little, if any, true environmental benefits, but could very well threaten our national economy and the success of our nation’s energy industry.”
Earthworks, based in Washington, DC, poured money into efforts to “Pass The Ban,” the initiative that sought to ban drilling in Denton, Texas. It’s clear that they’ve decided what the outcome should be before conducting their “study,” no matter that state environmental regulators have “consistently shown oil and gas development is not a major contributor to the ozone”:
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has an extensive monitoring system in Fort Worth and Dallas which has consistently shown oil and gas development is not a major contributor to the ozone, said Steve Everly, a spokesman for North Texans for Natural Gas, a pro-drilling group formed by the energy industry.
“The claim that oil and gas development is a major contributor to Texas ozone levels has been repeatedly disproven with state data and these groups know it,” Everly said. “If you shut down all oil and gas development in North Texas, you would devastate the local economy and not put a dent in regional ozone levels.”
Meanwhile, Energy in Depth traces the point of this study back to a former EPA official who “was forced to resign after a video surfaced of him explaining his strategy to use his EPA authority to ‘crucify’ the energy industry”:
Critics of fracking have alleged for years that oil and natural gas activities emit more ozone precursors than all of the cars and trucks on the road in DFW. … The talking point traces its origin to a 2009 study authored by Al Armendariz, then a professor at Southern Methodist University, who hypothesized that “the oil and gas sector likely has greater [smog-forming] emissions than motor vehicles” in the five Metroplex counties with “significant oil and gas production.” Armendariz later became the head of EPA’s Region 6 office in Dallas, although he was forced to resign after a video surfaced of him explaining his strategy to use his EPA authority to “crucify” the energy industry. He now works for the anti-drilling Sierra Club.