Letter: Fracking 101: Industry PR | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Fracking 101: Industry PR

I was disappointed to see the 3/20/16 drilling PR puff piece about fracking under the guise of news. This nearly 1,700-word press release was little more than an infomercial for fracking, and should have been run under the heading of opinion, or marked as paid advertising.

It was a one-sided promotion of fracking, that regurgitated industry talking points and omitted any counter-arguments. The teaser cited fracking as “misunderstood”; one reason the public is misinformed about fracking is that the media prints industry spin disguised as news.

Fracking involves mixing toxic chemicals with water and sand and forcing it deep into the earth; each fracked well contaminates millions of gallons of water with toxins, some left underground and some of which comes to the surface and must be dealt with, often by reinjecting back into the ground.

The drilling process requires thousands of truck trips, releases air pollution and dust and deadly chemicals and releases methane directly into the atmosphere. Drilling alters the landscape, and explodes in its host communities like an economic neutron bomb. This all was skipped over in your piece. Citing the spin that the fracking chemicals are akin to the household cleaners is reckless misinformation. Further, there’s no mention of failed casings; of wrecks, leaks and spills; or of the looming crisis from the legacy of failing abandoned wells. There’s also no contemplation of the long-term consequences of injecting hundreds of billions of gallons of contaminated water into the destabilized ground. Further, not a single critic or skeptic is sought for comment.

The only meaningful question raised in that fracking advertisement was that we as a nation must make an honest appraisal of where our energy comes from. Your article fell far short of that.

Given the controversy in this community over the practice of fracking and the impacts of drilling, featuring that trash prominently as “news” was an awful act of bad journalism. In the interest of fairness and balance, we expect the PI to now run a two-page “news article” written by anti-fracking advocates. For example, run this report: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/insight/urgent-case-ban-fracking.

Malcolm McMichael


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