Paul Rubin: I’m No Activist and It’s Not About My Science

shale gas outrages - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


Dimock plaintiffs’ expert Paul Rubin tripped over himself in Federal court on Thursday, showing everyone why his testimony is so often frowned on by courts.

The Scott Ely trial against Cabot Oil and Gas is one of those gifts that just never stop coming. Thursday afternoon was yet another perfect illustration of how fractivism works; well, actually, how it doesn’t work. Hydrogeologist Paul Rubin showed up on the stand as an expert, which was surprising in itself, given his history of being rejected by the courts and his preference for advocacy over science. He astoundingly proceeded to say he was no activist but subsequently admitted he was very much opposed to non-renewable energy development. He then tried to get out of it by saying his opposition wasn’t about the science, as if that made him look better. His testimony was a complete joke.

Readers will recall the name Paul Rubin. He’s one of the Delaware Povertykeeper’s favorite “experts,” having participated in a junk science initiative led by Maya van Rossum last year, one in which Tony Ingraffea and Bob Howarth also joined. Paul Rubin was also one of the experts used by the Napoli Bern Ripka trial lawyer firm (involved as well with the Dimock case before it became obvious there was no evidence) in a trial agains Anscutz Exploration in New York. There the judge concluded this about Paul Rubin’s testimony (emphasis added):

Exercising its gate keeping function, the Court determines that, considering his reports and his deposition testimony, Rubin’s testimony at trial would not be based upon sufficient facts or data, would not be the product of reliable principles and methods, and that, in any event,Rubin has not applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case. Therefore, his testimony would not be admissible…

Rubin’s speculation is not sufficient to establish causation.

Paul Rubin was, incredibly enough, also involved in the Loren Kiskadden case out in Washington County, with similar results:

The Appellant’s hydrogeology expert testified in a conclusory manner and his “shotgun” approach to what caused the contamination was not persuasive based on the evidence he relied on. The scores of lab results introduced into evidence by the Appellant did not support the theory that his well was contaminated by Range’s operations. As we explained, high chloride readings can be a good indicator that drilling operations have contaminated a water source. For example, it is undisputed that the Yeager Springs were contaminated by Range’s drilling operations, and the chloride readings in the samples taken from the Yeager Springs were in the thousands. In contrast, the chlorides in Mr. Kiskadden’s water well never exceeded 44 mg/l.

This less than sterling record didn’t stop the Dimock plaintiffs from using Paul Rubin as their “expert” in this case and he lived up to expectations. It started with Dimock plaintiff’s attorney Leslie Lewis asking him “Do you consider yourself an activist one way or the other? One might think the answer had to be yes, given the following picture of him speaking at a 2011 Dimock protest with the infamous Sautners and a“Drilling Isn’t Safe” button on his lapel:

Paul Rubin

If you thought wearing an anti-drilling button while speaking at an ant-drilling protest with the Sautners might make one an activist, Paul Rubin was there on Thursday to say “You’re wrong!”

No. I do look at the science, in whatever topic whether gas drilling, and I learn as much as I can. I read papers. I learn as much as I can and then I form my opinions based on sound science all the time.

As evident here, Paul Rubin is a very poor witness; one of those people who can’t resist an attempt to explain things or explain away things when a simple yes or no would suffice. He had to be repeatedly reminded, during his testimony, to simply answer the questions put to him. Time and again got himself in trouble trying to do the opposite. That was the case when Cabot Attorney Amy Barrette asked him if he “came into this case with a preconceived bias against natural coal, gas and oil development.” Here’s how the answer went:

A. It has nothing to do with my science.

Q. Mr. Rubin you came into this case with a preconceived notion that you were against, and a bias that you were against, natural gas coal and non-renewable energy exploration correct?

A. Based on my evaluation, of environmental factors.

Q. Mr. Rubin it’s a simple yes or no. You came into this case with a bias against non-renewable energy exploration, correct?

A. Correct.

Pretty amazing, huh? He admits to his bias and says it’s not about his science, but, rather “environmental factors.” One must, therefore, presume “environmental factors” have nothing to do with science in his mind. The only thing one can take from this is that Paul Rubin is a true believer environmentalist who views it as a religion not based on science. Yet, we’re all supposed to accept the fact this true believer, who rejects science as the basis of his environmentalism and opposition to non-renewables, can render an objective scientific opinion? It was devastating for anyone who considered what the man actually said.

It went like that pretty much all afternoon as one Paul Rubin contention after another was exposed as speculation, his arguments essentially being the same as those he used in the Anschutz and Kiskadden cases. (Some readers may remember how, in the latter, he suggested water could flow in any direction from a well site). It turned out, too, that Rubin hadn’t followed EPA protocols for water testing, had rejected the results from DEP and EPA water tests, and had let Scott Ely himself participate in the water testing process despite the latter’s self-interest. Not only that, but there was no evidence the wells had been properly purged prior to testing, which will often yield discolored water, and some photographic evidence they hadn’t been. Topping it off, Rubin had to resort to a “typo” excuse to explain much of it away.

Overall, it was, once again, pitiful. Rubin tried and tried to avoid answering embarrassing questions but he kept getting trapped, as, for example, he dd in this response to a Barrette question:

Q. All right. And despite all of that, everything that we’ve just gone through, it was your position that any of the sampling done by the EPA or the PA DEP or Duke University or any of the other people who have sampled that water, those should all be disregarded and the only one that is relevant to this case or accurate would be yours, is that correct? Isn’t that what you testified?

A. It is.

Rubin then asked if he could “embellish” his answer but the judge told him he’d have to wait for redirect questions from his attorney to do that. The damage had been done. But, that wasn’t the end of it. Rubin, in the rescue attempt by his attorney, was asked to explain exactly how he had involved Scott Ely in the testing and to describe what procedures they had used. Rubin spelled it and then Lewis asked him if had received any of information that Ely had done anything other than follow his directions? He answered “No” but then couldn’t help himself, volunteering this:

He told me he followed my directions.

The judge ruled it out as hearsay but, once again, the damage had been done and Ms. Lewis received another lesson in lawyering; never ask a question for which you don’t already know the answer. The answer, of course, sums it all up; the entire Dimock case rests on the word of self-interested parties (among whom is Paul Rubin himself who is still awaiting payment for his services) and true-believers. Theres nothing else there.

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20 thoughts on “Paul Rubin: I’m No Activist and It’s Not About My Science

  1. Mark Twain said it “A Gold Mine Is a Hole in the Ground with a Liar at the Top ” . You would think with this mans track record of failure on the stand the frackivists would give up on him.

  2. Wow. The question (and answer) about how the DEP, Duke and all others had irrelevant or inaccurate data and only he had the magic sauce data and facts reminds me in EVERY way of antifracking anti natural gas pipeline movement folks.

    To wit:

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…invalid, incorrect, “rogue”, captured or people who practice “communicide”. Every EA or EIS on every pipeline project? Bunk. All agencies that also participate in the FERC process and permits, input or approval? Can not see what antifracking activists do.

    A clear LNG import project (port ambrose) actually secretly an export project.

    And the TRULY tragic and important thing is that reporters who reach many more people than the activists actually help to AMPLIFY the muddy thinking and logic because they use the activists sometimes for all their background on stories and as sources. Madness.

  3. activist = troublemaker.

    it’s been obvious for 6 years that the fractivist case is built on lying, fraud, fearmongering, hysteria, and above all- NIMBY hypocrisy. the above legal proceedings will be swept under the rug by the biased media because it does not fit their technically illiterate unquestioning leftist narrative.

    it would be nice if this garbage was exposed for what it is, and if Cuomo, most NY and some PA politicians and their uber-rich handlers were held accountable for the severe constitutional and financial damage they have done to the Southern Tier and eastern PA.

    if HRC or Sanders manages to become POTUS there will be at minimum another half decade of delay for economic justice for our region. the Obama Feds (seemingly at Biden’s behest) apparently let Cuomo skate on Moreland witness tampering, btw… notice how there are two justice systems in this country- one for the rank and file, and another for the well connected? in a truly disturbing development, he’s already shifted to campaigning for POTUS 2020. oh the horror.

    I don’t agree with everything the GOP stands for, but “progressives” have this nation circling the drain. get out and vote in Nov or you have no one to blame but yourself.


      I’m not going to stump for a party or candidate. What I will say is there is only one candidate in either party running right now who is anti frack and natural gas. That candidate is Bernie Sanders. You can find that Ms. Clinton is written about negatively on Huffpo and other places for not having a ban fracking position.

      • True on Hilary. She’s said she favors an “all of the above” approach to energy, but – as with Obama – there’s no definition of what “all” is. And my fear would be she would continue the policy of allowing the EPA to slow-walk natural gas to death. A sort of plausible deniability to allow all sides to believe what they want.

        • Well the all sides believing what they want..I could see that as “strategy” but also that’s kind of what happens anyway.

          Clinton has a writeup on natural gas on her website, credits it with reducing emissions..part of clean energy progress etc but from what I have seen in the news, it is the activists who drive the conversation on fracking and natural gas or are putting pressure on her to be antifrack. (Just as they do with other governors, ferc, local pols..pretty much everyone.) I haven’t noticed natural gas or the fracking issue coming up in questions from reporters or others though.

  4. I wonder – can a trial transcript (specifically this one) be obtained and made public? If so, this needs to be spread far and wide with as much media exposure as possible. That is, if the lamestream media will publish it!

    Speaking of which, the odious Press and Sun Bulletin ran an article the day the trial began, but given how poorly the trial is going for the plaintiffs, the article seems to have disappeared. Searching various terms only resulted in finding the hatchet pieces by Tom Wilbur. Fortunately I could still get to the article by searching my browser history. For those who missed it and would like to comment (I’m not on Facebook), here is the link:

    By the tenor of the article, I think they believed (or hoped) it would be a slam dunk for the Elys, and they were too embarassed to leave it up after the stipulations revealed the first day that water problems predated the commencement of drilling.

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  6. You’re both basically proving my points above.

    HRC cannot be trusted. She’s an elitist carpetbagger who is quite frankly pandering to minorities whom she cares little about to get nominated. She believes the law does not apply to her and she’ll drift farther and farther left if elected not indicted. And she would continue to shield AC. When you’re at the top you can get away with all kinds of malfeasance; we know that first hand here in NY.

    Trump is unfortunately out of his depth on several policy areas. He does however cut all the PC crap and would indeed be a friend to upstate. All elections are the lesser of (usually) two evils.

  7. Come on, do any of you really think any of this has any thing to do with NG development? It,s all fluff to justify the preconceived back room deals between importers and paid for politicos.
    Same as NY, Pa. ng will suffer a death by a thousand cuts . The real sad part is you are all even helping them develope the very pipes that will finish you off!
    And to Karen, What bench did you sit on?
    How is what you and your pipe cronies are doing to land owners any diferent than what NY state did to them? Theft is theft!



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  13. I’ve had the misfortune of seeing Mr. Rubin at work. He is all activist, has difficulty mastering basic scientific principles, has shady ethics and bases his decisions on his personal preferences and not science. He makes broad brush statements that match his political and personal beliefs and contradict well established science.

  14. I’m NOT against drilling….The gas companies have brought lots of jobs and money to the area. I am against them damaging our property and homes and not being accountible for it. I dont understand why DEP would not tell the truth and make them accountible. I livE in Lenox Township and there was a Frac Out under my property. I have sinkholes and well water with 25.9 mg of sodium in it. Damage to my home and pole building. DEP said the sinkholes in the middle of my driveway might be woodchuck holes. 6 to 9 feet deep. Lol Or my ground is just settling after 10 years all at once WITH sinkholes. The inside of my home is damaged because I put an addition on. Explain the pole building….ONE wall has sunk 3 inches. Cabot said they were gonna be good neighbors…wonder what a bad neighbor would be like???

  15. Well, Tom, you are certainly an expert hatchet man. Although transparent from your use of derogatory terms. Everyone has biases. That doesn’t mean there are no expert witnesses. I can’t speak to this case, but your own bias is evident in terms like “povertykeeper” instead of the proper name, which is Riverkeeper. You sound like a shill for the gas drilling companies, which ruins your own credibility. In the Trump era, you should know that the age of deregulation will most likely come to an end starting in 2021 and the environmental rollbacks your employers now enjoy will be reversed. Hopefully penalties will be applied retroactively given the harm the gas companies have caused to the environment and local resident’s properties.


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