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On Data Show Texas Ozone Levels Are Not Driven by Fracking

I see you're still refusing to offer any data to counter what's in this post, so we'll just accept that as you acknowleding you have nothing substantive to refute what the available data show. In fact, you just admitted that you don't even care to look at the data, which suggests you have a position but are unwilling to support it with any credible evidence. Again, that's your right, but I'll stick with data-driven conclusions, and let's hope scientists and regulators similarly avoid the kind of speculation that forms the basis for your critique.

As for whether Dr. Armendariz recommended crucifying the industry, we'll let other readers determine that. Here's how the New York Times -- certainly no friend to the industry -- described his remarks:

In the video, Dr. Armendariz discussed his approach to enforcing regulations on hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas extraction, acknowledging that his language might be “a little crude” but saying that it captured the deterrent effect he was seeking.

“It is kind of like how the Romans used to conquer villages in the Mediterranean — they’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere and they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them,” Mr. Armendariz said on the tape. “Then that little town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

He continued: “And so, you make examples out of people who are, in this case, not complying with the law. You find people who are not complying with the law and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them. There’s a deterrent effect there.”

February 8, 2015    View Comment    

On Data Show Texas Ozone Levels Are Not Driven by Fracking

Bob, you're still attacking the source instead of what the data actually show. By suggesting that the sources are somehow "captured" by industry, you're also alleging that they're fudging the data. TCEQ operates the most extensive air monitoring network in the Barnett Shale, and the agency has collected millions of data points in the Eagle Ford. In the latter case, there have been calls for TCEQ to install additional monitors to get a better handle on the data, and I know they have announced at least one more monitor will be constructed or is being constructed. But discussions about the limitations of the data are a different discussion than the validity of the data presented. The implication of your comment is that TCEQ and AACOG are concealing data that are not favorable to industry -- without providing even a shred of evidence for such a coverup, which would indeed be a major conspiracy.

It's also interesting that you consider Armendariz's hostility to industry to be a "distraction," but your self-determined "business-friendly" description of TCEQ and AACOG make their data fatally flawed. In Armendariz's case, his affiliation is useful because it explains why such extensive monitoring has disproved his theory. Perhaps his conclusion was driven by an animus toward industry, which we can agree is not scientific. Or perhaps he made an honest mistake. In any case, it's far more relevant to discuss Armendariz's intentions to "crucify" the industry than it is to make unfounded assumptions about the quality of data that anyone can access. The latter is nothing more than a blind attempt to distract or sow doubt -- a baseless accusation intended to force others into answering questions, instead of focusing on the facts.

As for your question about climate change, that has as much to do with this post as does the veracity of veterinary science. Once again, that is an attempt to divert from the focus of this post (ozone levels and what contributes to it) and instead engage on a completely separate topic (climate change). That's a tactic typically used by individuals who cannot debate the merits of the subject at hand, so they try to change the subject.

But for the sake of argument: I accept climate science the same way that I accept evolution or math. Had you taken some time to visit the Energy In Depth blog -- -- and searched for climate-related subjects, you would see that we have covered the issue extensively. In the context of this particular discussion, it's worth noting that shale gas from formations such as the Barnett has done more to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions than any other fuel in recent years. That has been confirmed by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the International Energy Agency, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

February 8, 2015    View Comment    

On Data Show Texas Ozone Levels Are Not Driven by Fracking

Leland, thanks for your comment. The focus of my post was on Texas specifically. In different parts of the country, there are differing interpretations on what the key contributor is to ozone formation. In Utah, for example, the fact that high ozone levels correlate more closely with snowfall than with oil or gas production suggests weather plays a major role. Is that true for Texas? I'm not sure, but we do know that the best available data suggest oil and gas production activities are not significant contributors of NOx or VOCs, at least when compared to other, much larger sources.

It may be worth looking at the key contributing factors in other parts of the country, as other scientists have done (which you pointed out), but that wasn't the focus of this post.

February 8, 2015    View Comment    

On Data Show Texas Ozone Levels Are Not Driven by Fracking

Hi Bob, thanks for reading. You can tell it's not just "public relations" because it's data that reflect reality. It's not as if the data actually show oil and gas production is a major contributor to ozone in DFW and San Antonio. The crux of your argument is a conspiracy: we can't trust the data because you don't like the sources of the data. You have nothing to substantiate your critique; it is merely an attempt to sow doubt about a conclusion that you dislike. 

As as for my affiliation with Energy In Depth, congratulations. You successfully repeated what is listed on my profile, and for which no attempt has been made on my part to conceal. Once again, you are trying to divert from the facts -- which we have established you don't like. That's unfortunate, but it is obviously your right.

If you would care to respond to the substance of the post, and the data contained therein, then I would be happy to review whatever you have to say. But please, let's focus on the facts, not scripted talking points.

February 8, 2015    View Comment    

On Fracking, InsideClimate, and Public Integrity

Hi Alan,

First of all, it's fitting that Earthworks (another Park Foundation-funded entity) would come to the defense of InsideClimate News. EID's original pushback against ICN (Feb. 2014) noted how its report was essentially a carbon copy of a report that Earthworks published several months earlier. EID addressed many factual errors and exaggerations in that earlier report, too. Nonetheless, thank you for providing more evidence to support the conclusions in this post.

Second, where are the ad hominem attacks, exactly? Presenting evidence that reporters have misled interviewees and given them false information is not a personal attack. Nor is it ad hominem to raise questions about whether entities receiving funding from anti-fossil fuel activists can report objectively on fossil fuels. It's sunlight on a worrisome trend.

Third, I invite all readers to review the comprehensive response Energy In Depth put together when ICN, CPI, and the Weather Channel first published their Eagle Ford report. There are plenty of substantive points, and a litany of examples demonstrating how that report was misleading and, in many cases, misstated the facts.

When InsideClimate News responded to this report, it did not provide an evidentiary basis for its pushback. It merely wished away the conclusions with dismissive, single sentence retorts, mixed with anti-corporate rhetoric and talking points about "front groups." Its lack of ability to address the substance is the real story, and it shows just how solid EID's research was.

Disagreeing with someone -- or, in this case, not enjoying what that person has to say -- does not make his comment(s) ad hominem. Retreating to that defense is also not a substantive response; it's simply a desperate one.

July 30, 2014    View Comment    

On InsideClimate News Responds to Steve Everley of Energy in Depth

Energy In Depth "did not dispute the evidence we presented"? I would invite everyone to read the lengthy, fact-based rebuttal to the report that ICN, CPI, and the Weather Channel published on the Eagle Ford region of south Texas:

EID also described errors in ICN's subsequent coverage here:

Working in public affairs is not a rebuttal to ICN's refusal to cover scientific research that affirms the environmental benefits of shale gas, and citing at length a 2009 memo only serves as a distraction from ICN's lack of adequate disclosure.

The fact that ICN spent so much space ranting about "front groups" and EID's affiliation with industry (which is self-evident), in lieu of providing a substantive response to the investigation itself, is the real story here. 

July 29, 2014    View Comment    

On Fracking, InsideClimate, and Public Integrity


Yes, it is good that those groups are up front about their affiliations. In fact, it's branded on their home pages. But you're also comparing apples to oranges, because blog posts from V4E and Energy Tomorrow are not reprinted by news wires, nor do they appear in local papers across the country as if they are unbiased news reports. ICN and CPI have every right to write the stories they want, with as much emphasis on sensationalism and negative impacts as they see fit. But readers also need to know when conflicts of interest occur, which is why, at the very least, their funding sources -- especially the common links with the anti-fracking groups that they cite and reference -- should be adequately disclosed as part of their reporting.

Coverage from ICN and CPI would be better categorized in the opinion section. If an industry-funded "news" outlet tried to get away with the same thing, but with a bias toward only the positive, there would be justifitable outrage. 

July 29, 2014    View Comment