Following up on yesterday’s Senate EPW hearing on energy policy and the states, where North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven called for a comprehensive national energy strategy (see post), the good people at Energy in Depth pass on an exchange the governor had with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK):

Key Excerpts From Yesterday’s U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Hearing
Dialogue starts at 101:50.
Click HERE to view.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK):  “Governor Hoeven, the thing I was going to bring up is there’s a lot of discussion, when you talk about your offset capabilities there, and what you’re doing, that’s great. We’re doing somewhat the same thing, although most of ours is marginal production. But there is a, I’d suggest to you, the use of hydraulic fracturing is necessary in your state to be able to explore, to retrieve all these oil capabilities.”

Gov. John Hoeven (R-ND):  “It’s absolutely vital. You know, you mention some of these new formations. They are not, uh, the oil isn’t connected. You’ve got to go underground. And you’re talking two miles underground. And make a fracture in order to get the oil to flow. That’s vitally important.”

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK):  “I wanted to get that into the record, because there are some efforts to do away with hydraulic fracturing, and it would be devastating.”

Just so. Energy in Depth has been a strong voice defending hydrofracturing technology, in which pressurized water is pumped in subterranean strata to make the oil or natural gas accessible via drilling. Without hydrofrac, development of the Bakken Formation oil as well as our vast natural gas resources in Texas (Barnett Shale) and Pennsylvania/New York/Ohio (Marcellus Shale) would be prohibitively expensive.

The activist group, ProPublica, has been leading a bizarre campaign against the widely accepted technology, and by offering its agenda-driven reporting for free has been successful in getting newspapers to publish the articles. Apparently if it’s gratis, editing is optional.

This is a telling observation from an Energy in Depth rebuttal, which explains why we refer to ProPublica as an activist outlet, not a journalistic venture, “Separating Fiction from Invention in ProPublica’s Latest Anti-HF Attack Piece“:

Earlier this week, ProPublica author Abrahm Lustgarten released the latest installment in his series of advocacy pieces attacking the commonly used energy technology known as hydraulic fracturing. Instead of simply running on the ProPublica blog and website, however, the article was co-published with Politico and appeared in the paper’s news section (a letter to the editor from Energy In Depth policy director Lee Fuller will appear in the paper this Tuesday).

It wasn’t the first time that a mainstream news outlet provided ProPublica with a platform for this kind of product – although, for papers such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the determination has been made that ProPublica articles, when run, are more appropriately filed on its “opinion/perspectives” page than as part of its straight-news reporting.

Prior to its release, Energy In Depth spoke at length with Mr. Lustgarten about the direction of the (presumably already written) piece and the myriad mistakes he was making in issuing a blanket indictment of recent government and third-party reports finding that EPA regulation of hydraulic fracturing would cost Americans jobs, revenues and future security.  

Regrettably, none of those explanations made it into his final piece.

 And regrettably, ProPublica appears to be a model for future journalistic ventures.

As previously noted, this blogger once worked for Gov. John Hoeven. But it’s been eight years now.

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