Dr. Michael Morrongiello
Psychologist and Steuben County Landowner
The first Earth Day in 1970 resulted in a shower of doomsday predictions about our resources, including oil and natural gas, which continue to sustain our civilization despite the incredible non-credible rhetoric of environmental special interests.
Credible means “offering reasonable grounds to be believed.” Consider whether the word “credible” applies to any of the dire predictions made on the first Earth Day in 1970. Ecologist Ken Watt said, “By the year 2000…there won’t be any more crude oil.” Biologist Barry Commoner said, “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation and the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” Harvard biologist George Wald said, “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken.” Forty-plus years later, we’re still here and we are awash in oil.
We’re still hearing the same old tune from a new generation of environmental crackpots: the zealous anti-frackers. They claimed gas drilling was polluting Dimock, PA’s drinking water. But the EPA and the Pennsylvania DEP found the drinking water was safe. Months after the EPA results were released; anti-frackers dragged Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon, Susan Sarandon and Arun Ghandi (Mahatma’s grandson) from Manhattan to rural Dimock, PA for a photo-op. (When the facts are against you, use know-nothing celebrities to make your case.) Ghandi said, “We have to recognize that we are committing violence against nature, against resources, against environment and eventually this is going to destroy us, destroy humanity.” One Dimock resident, featured by the anti-frackers, claimed his well was contaminated by “weapons grade uranium.”
Next came the Mannings of Franklin Forks, PA, who claimed gas drillers contaminated their water with methane. Yoko Ono and company showed up for a PR opportunity for this one too. Pennsylvania regulators found that the methane in the Mannings’ well occurred naturally and wasn’t caused by drilling. But the anti-frackers don’t believe it. One anti-fracking blog said, “Well, the EPA says that Dimock is OK and now the DEP says that Franklin Forks gas wells are OK. Bogus government science in service of the industry has spoken!”
Fracking is now going on in at least 15 states. And the EPA – Obama’s EPA – has been unable to find one reason to stop it.
There’s a method to the anti-frackers’ madness. Here’s the playbook: Scream catastrophe. Frame the debate in terms of victims (the Mannings) versus victimizers (greedy, evil corporations.) Demonize your opponents (pro-frackers are idiots and care more about profits than people.) And, never admit you’re wrong, even when the facts are not on your side. Quote your own scientists to blunt attacks and lend believability. But scientists can be wrong too… just like they were on Earth Day in 1970.
Everyone has the right to speak, but not everyone has to be taken seriously.