Years ago the tobacco industry vehemently denied any connection between smoking and health issues.
Tobacco advertising in the 1950’s would often include doctors and other medical professionals in their ads as a method of allaying public concerns. After all if you doctor smoked, what’s the harm?
The Natural Gas industry hasn’t gone as far as including doctors or even actors dressed up as doctors in their advertising, nonetheless, the advertising and talking points do include words like “Safe”, “Natural”, “Clean”.
These words are selected to make the public feel more comfortable.
TXSharon of the BlueDaze blog has noticed the Natural Gas Industry’s approach is like a template lifted from the tobacco industry’s play book. She tagged them as Fracking Joe Camels.
A number of Natural Gas spokespeople and other players had roots in tobacco.
- Tobacco industry players traded to fracking industry
- Fracking’s Joe Camel: A new player card
- Fracking’s Joe Camel designed a new advertising campaign
A couple of examples: David Quast, Senior Vice President at FTI Consulting and Field Director for the IPPA/EID office in California, previously worked in New York, managing media relations on state and federal legislative and regulatory issues for Philip Morris where he developed and executed communications strategies to help the company fight significant litigation, regulatory threats, and the prospect of a major Federal tax increase.
Quast fought “significant litigation” for Philip Morris.
David Poole, Sr. Vice President – General Counsel & Corporate Secretary for Range Resources, was an attorney for Hunton & Williams, which was counsel for Philip Morris.
Hunton & Williams was counsel for Philip Morris. (PMI’s Introduction to Privilege Log and Glossary of Names, Estate of Burl Butler v. PMI, et al, April 19, 1996). They are a law firm in Richmond, Virginia (USA) and were a major law firm used by Philip Morris Cos. Inc., circa 1993.(NJL 5/9/94) Attorneys T. Justin Moore III, Robert E.R. Huntley, were on the board of directors of Philip Morris Cos. Inc., circa 1993.(NJL 5/9/94)
The Tobacco industry also used “scientific studies” to prove the smoking had no adverse health effects.
Although the Natural Gas industry’s advertising doesn’t feature a big splashy ad about studies, it does frequently tout reports and studies through its front groups and public relation campaigns.
One example from EID/IPAA:
UT Study: ‘No Evidence of Groundwater Contamination’ from HF : In a release, Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York (IOGA of NY), said the report validates what regulators and other scientists have long maintained: that hydraulic fracturing “is a proven and safe method for extracting natural gas and oil.”
The problem emerges when you start drilling into WHO funded the studies, who produced the studies and their connection to the Natural Gas industry.
I like to bring your attention to WLF mentioning of one particular study.
The WLF stated in a news release: This week the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) filed formal comments with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) urging it to come to a swift conclusion as to the future of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the State. In particular, if (as expected) state environmental experts determine that fracking does not pose a significant threat of environmental harm, WLF urged the DEC to rule that local jurisdictions are not permitted to veto such activity within their borders.
On WLF webpage: In re Hydraulic Fracturing in New York State
Case Date: 1/11/2013 Project Name: Environmental Law Project
On January 11, 2013, WLF filed formal comments with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), urging it to move forward with its proposed regulation of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) within the State. Fracking is a method of extracting oil and gas that has led to significant production increases throughout the U.S. in recent years, but New York has imposed a moratorium on all fracking for the past five years while it studies potential environmental concerns. The Commissioner of Health is expected soon to issue a study that will conclude that the health hazards of fracking are minimal, provided that adequate environmental controls are put in place. WLF recommended that once that report is issued, DEC should immediately: (1) issue its regulations and lift its moratorium on fracking; and (2) make clear that local jurisdictions are not permitted to impose their own moratoriums.
From WLF’s comments to NY DEC: : Page 5 excerpt: The DEC’s regulations respond to environmental and health concerns, and the state’s own recently released report signals that hydraulic fracturing can be pursued with no detrimental effect on public health or safety.
The report concludes, “Significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF.” (HVHF – High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing)
Gas Drilling Is Called Safe in New York | By DANNY HAKIM | NY Times | Published: January 3, 2013
Excerpt: The eight-page analysis is a summary of previous research by the state and others, and concludes that fracking can be done safely. It delves into the potential impact of fracking on water resources, on naturally occurring radiological material found in the ground, on air emissions and on “potential socioeconomic and quality-of-life impacts.”
WLF has emphasized ONE 8 page analysis which states fracking CAN be done safely. Perhaps it can be done safely, but WILL it be done safely? Will corporations be willing to forego some profits in order to actually do it safely?
The Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air has an on-going project called List of the Harmed. It was updated as of January 12, 2013, and now contains a list of the 778 individuals and families that have been harmed by fracking (or shale gas production) in the US. These are taken from news reports or individuals coming forward with their stories. There are many, many more.
It is a wide chasm between “can” and “will”.
Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) Background
WLF describes its mission as: National in scope, the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) works with our allies in government and our legal system to maintain balance in the Courts and help our government strengthen America’s free enterprise system. WLF champions free market principles, limited and accountable government, individual rights, business civil liberties, and legal ethics.
WLF is a unique institution with three essential cornerstone programs:
- shaping public policy through aggressive litigation and advocacy
- publishing timely legal studies
- educating policy-makers and the public through extensive communications outreach
Per SourceWatch: The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) was established in 1977 to “fight activist lawyers, regulators, and intrusive government agencies at the federal and state levels, in the courts and regulatory agencies across the country”. WLF is classified as a national, non-profit, tax-exempt public foundation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
WLF has a special Environmental Law Project, described as: Environmental extremist groups, activist courts, and the media foster the false notion that the environment is always threatened by economic activities. The Washington Legal Foundation’s Environmental Law Project promotes a rational balance between environmental protection, on one hand, and economic growth and property rights on the other.
Notice the repeating themes? Activists? Regulators? Intrusive government agencies? Essentially anyone expressing opinions which are contrary to the corporate world, and threatens to upset the Golden Apple Cart is an “activist”. Regulations are bad because the “intrusive government agency” will cost the corporations money by requiring safeguards to protect people. The only economic growth the WLF is interested in is that of the corporations they represent.
From page 6 of WLF’s comments to NY DEC – excerpt: If policy is to be truly science-driven, rather than pursued on the basis of unverified activist claims and hyperbolic rhetoric, the DEC will heed the results of its own study and permit the development of shale gas.
Let’s Connect some WLF Dots
The Legal Policy Board of WLF has a number of familiar names. These include Kenneth Starr of former President Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky fame, Ted Olson who represented then Candidate George W. Bush in the Bush V Gore Supreme Court decision. There is also an array of Governors (past and current), Attorney Generals, Law Professors and Partners of notable law firms.
With regards to Natural Gas Drilling, two names pop out. Richard Thornburgh, Counsel of K&L Gates LLP, and Richard Willard, Partner of Steptoe-Johnson LLP.
Thornburgh is Chairman of WLF, and Willard is Chairman Emeritus.
K&L Gates Natural Gas Dots
Per K&L Gates: Energy, Infrastructure and Resources: Our energy, infrastructure and resources practice integrates the many disciplines involved in project-related representations. We represent clients with operations in the oil and gas, mining and minerals, electric power, transportation, water and wastewater, construction and related industries in North and South America, Western, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and the CIS States, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Our U.S. oil and gas practice is recognized for its extensive experience in both conventional and unconventional formations, including the largest onshore domestic shale plays.
K&L Gates boasts: Corporate Board Member Magazine, in association with FTI Consulting, Inc., ranked K&L Gates as one of the top 25 law firms in its 2012 list of “America’s Best Corporate Law Firms.” Based on a survey of nearly 2,000 general counsel of U.S. publicly held companies, the rankings focused on those law firms that survey respondents said they would engage in a variety of important legal subject matters.
NOTE FTI CONSULTING, INC…. Remember that David Quast was mentioned earlier as being a Senior Vice President at FTI Consulting, Inc. For more on FTI Consulting, Inc:
- Energy-in-Depth (EID) “GAS”roots – 1
- Energy-in-Depth (EID) “GAS”roots – 2
- Energy-in-Depth (EID) “GAS”roots – 3
- Duke Energy Corporation
- Halliburton Company
- PPG Industries, Inc.
- PPL Corporation
As side notes: Duke Energy is an Associate Members with MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI). PPG Industries is a member of the Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh. K&L Gates is an associate member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, as is Halliburton Company
A number of their lobbyists represent Peabody Energy, Sapphire Energy, NextEnergy and the Environmental Defense Fund among others. Talk about conflicting lobbying.
Click here for a list of 2011 lobbyists from K&L Gates. See also K&L Gates – 2012 Lobbying per OpenSecrets.com.
Their connections to Tobacco? K&L Gates received lobbying income of $170,000 from International Cigars/Pipe Retailers Assn, and $90,000 Cigar Rights of America in 2012.
And in the smoking room: IPCPR’s Washington lobbyists, K&L Gates, were instrumental in organizing the IPCPR teams and their visits with Congressional members and their staffs on the day after the CCA reception.” The Congressional Cigar Association and International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) are clients of K&L Gates.
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Steptoe & Johnson describes itself: Over the past six decades, Steptoe has established a reputation for vigorous advocacy in complex litigation and arbitration, successful representation of clients before governmental agencies, and creative and practical advice in guiding business transactions. The firm has more than 500 lawyers and other professionals in offices in Beijing, Brussels, Century City, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and Washington.
The firm is known for its ability to help clients solve high-stakes, multi-dimensional problems, particularly those with a governmental aspect.
Specific to Energy: Steptoe & Johnson’s energy team provides comprehensive services to the energy industry across the firm’s major practices. Team attorneys have been top listed in a number of energy-related practice areas by the authors of The Best Lawyers in America in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, including Energy Law, Oil & Gas Law, Natural Resources Law and Real Estate Law. These team members provide solutions tailored to the specific needs of energy developers throughout Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia.
And they emphasis “Strategic locations throughout the Marcellus and Utica shale plays”
Per OpenSecrets.com, Steptoe & Johnson’s Lobbying Income from Oil & Gas interests:
- American Gas Assn $20,000
- Chemtex International $190,000
- Soc of Ind Gasoline Marketers of America $210,000
OOGA membership is interesting because Thomas Stewart is listed as a member of OOGA’s Board of Trustees and its Executive Vice President. Stewart is a busy kind of guy, he is also Executive Vice President of IPAA’s Energy-in-Depth Ohio Project, and a member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.
Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and Ground Water Protection Council manage FracFocus, an industry site for disclosure of NON-PROPRIATORY chemicals used in fracking. (For more on FracFocus see: FracUNFocused)
Other WLF Natural Gas Publications
- HYDRAULIC FRACTURING & TSCA: EPA’S SURPRISING MOVE AND ITS SWEEPING IMPLICATIONS | by Eric Waeckerlin and Joe Green
- MISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN TARGETS HYDRAULIC FRACTURING | by Steve Everley
The Everley article is essentially regurgitation of the Natural Gas industry talking points, and bashing those who oppose the industrialization of communities. It is not so much as what he writes but rather his own set of “Dots”.
Everley is a Spokesman for IPAA/EID, and Assistant Vice-President for FTI Consulting, Inc. He is listed as a columnist for Townhall.com., which is a website that publishes numerous conservative columnists. Formerly a project of the Heritage Foundation, it was purchased in 2006 by Salem Communications Corporation.
Per his bio on Townhall.com: Steve Everley is Manager of Policy Research at American Solutions and a contributing author of To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine by Newt Gingrich. Prior to joining American Solutions, Everley worked as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute.
Be sure to read TXSharon’s exchange with Everley in Fracking’s Joe Camel Seeks New Career.
What does all mean now the WLF has jumped into the Fracking Fray?
It means we are making a difference.
The Natural Gas Industry is running scared, pulling out the BIG GUNS and spending more money on litigation, public relations, and lobbying. Convincing people that Natural Gas drilling and its related infrastructure is getting more expensive.
They have even engaged a company called “Control Risks Group” (CRG) to evaluate the “fractivist” problem. CRG has issued a “white paper” entitled: THE GLOBAL ANTI-FRACKING MOVEMENT – What it wants, how it operates and what’s next. Read: Control Risks Group Limited (CRG) joins the Fracking Play
All of our little Fractivist groups are making a difference. Keep it up. Make’em Spend MORE money.
If you took the time to read WLF’s comments to the NY DEC, they spend an overwhelming amount on words emphasizing economic benefits and jobs. Economics and Jobs are the big shiny the Natural Gas industry waves in its talking points. There is very little on health issues, environmental impact, and what industrialization will do to communities. Which makes me wonder how much time did WLF actually spend in researching the issue as opposed to doing a copy/paste of the talking points?
(C) 2013 by Dory Hippauf