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More Fracking

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I have an article at Global Comment on fracking, expanding on some of the themes I’ve discussed here over the past few weeks. Regarding Andrew Cuomo’s appointment of leading environmentalists such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to help oversee the process, I note:

Some have defended Cuomo’s actions, noting his appointment of leading environmentalists, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel. But grassroots environmental groups rightfully feel that the “Big Greens” have embraced fracking in order to wean the nation off of coal, despite the procedure’s significant environmental consequences.

Moreover, Kennedy has some credibility problems. First, his aggressive promotion of the vaccination-autism lie suggests a questionable approach to science. Second, grassroots environmentalists have accused of Kennedy of cozying up to energy companies. He tried to negotiate a deal with oil companies in Ecuador that would allow them to drill on indigenous lands. But local people, with support from environmental activists around the world, rejected the deal because it provided no real oversight or penalties against the companies if they did not comply with the details of the deal. Kennedy also attended the Critical Path Energy Summit last year which matched the natural gas industry, leading environmental organizations, and the government to think about ways to increase natural gas production.

Cuomo himself seems to have admitted inconsistencies in his energy policy when he banned fracking in the New York City watershed but opened it for most of the state. If fracking is safe, why not allow it near New York City? If it is not safe, are the watersheds of rural peoples less valuable than that of the cities?

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