Reactions to the Congressional hearing (or Casting doubt, part 2a)

I wrote yesterday about the Congressional Sub-committee on Energy and Environment hearing held February 1st on the EPA Pavillion study. I’ve come across some follow up pieces on the hearing, including an interview with John Fenton, a resident of Pavillion, WY, who was featured in Josh Fox’s Gasland film and is chair of the Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens. I missed their response in January to the attacks on the EPA Pavillion study, which is very worthy read. Fenton’s name was mentioned, but to further frustrate locals, no testimony from any residents of Pavillion was included during the hearing.

Josh Fox in the Democracy Now piece makes a great point in how science and observation and free press are being compromised, and that practice is rather scary. Though similar tactics of publicly refuting of science eventually failed in regards to the link of tobacco to lung cancer, it has eerily spread doubt in the public about climate change.

An op-ed piece from central Florida offers another interesting perspective on the hearing:

The people of the United States of America deserve better. The focus should not even be on lessening our dependence on foreign oil, but rather should be on lessening our dependence on (and addiction to) oil in general. It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, just as it does not take more than a three-year investigation to know that hydraulic fracturing has severe side-effects and detrimental impacts to water supplies within proximity of fracking sites. The fracking process is a slap in the face to all of those who support renewable and clean energy standards for the future…

The author has a compelling point: we can debate the integrity of the science until we run out of fossil fuels and it will not change the fact that no matter how much of this natural gas we extract, we are only putting off a shift to depend on other resources. I believe that the process of extracting natural gas through horizontal drilling is an incredible feat, but we must continue to invest in alternative resources. Perhaps the widespread concern over water will actually raise the value of that most basic of commodities – water – and in order to protect it, we in turn pay more for energy that threatens our water resources. The arguments at the hearing centered on this EPA study at the Pavillion as if energy production and water protection is an either-or discussion, when in fact we need both.

-BT

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