Sharon Wilson writes about how the gas companies have taken a page from the tobacco companies’ book to resist cleaning up their industry:
“JUNK SCIENCE AT THE EPA.’”
EPA taking “extreme positions not supported by science.”
If you think the above comes from the fracking industry, you are correct. If you think it came from the tobacco industry, you are also correct. The fracking industry uses the same strategies, the same players and often the same phrases used by the tobacco industry.
“Excessive regulation,” “over-regulation,” and “unnecessary regulation,” are soundbites the under regulated fracking industry is recycling from the tobacco industry. Although fracking was developed with government help and despite the fact frackers receive $4 billion in corporate welfare, they repeat the cigarette industry’s appeal to independent Americans by calling for “individual liberty, free enterprise and limited government.”
“It’s your right to smoke” has morphed into “it’s your right to lease your minerals.” Like secondhand smoke fracking can wreck your neighbors’ health. Worse than secondhand smoke, fracking can wreck your neighbors’ property values and serenity and leave them without clean water.
How the EPA got involved in secondhand smoke:
The tobacco industry started using the term “environmental tobacco smoke” (ETS) because it seemed less threatening than secondhand smoke. That proved to be a mistake because it allowed the EPA to get involved. When the EPA released the peer reviewed study, Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking, in December 1992, the industry launched a full attack on science.
Philip Morris hired APCO to organize the front group TASSC (The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition) in October, 1993 to help fight public health efforts to control Environmental Tobacco Smoke that occurred in the wake of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‘s ruling that secondhand tobacco smoke was a Group A human carcinogen.
Working with Dr. Fred Singer a space scientist and government scientific administrator, Dr. Dwight Lee an economist (Economist? Sound familiar?) Philip Morris and their front groups began to develop bogus scientific articles to defend the tobacco industry.
They also released a handbook: Bad Science: A Resource Book. Part of the messaging in the handbook was individual liberty, asserting that protecting smoking is protecting freedom. The fracking industry uses a similar false claim saying that fracking will bring us energy independence and national security while they are busy making deals to export our energy to Asia.
The Bad Science strategy:
This was the Bad Science in a nutshell: plant complainte in op-ed pieces, in letters to the editor, and in articles in mainstream journals to whom you’d supplied the “facts,” and then quote them as if they really were facts. Quote, in fact, yourself. A perfect rhetorical circle. A mass media echo chanber of your own construction.
Merchants of Doubt, page 147 [Links added by me to show that the fracking industry is following the same strategies.]
The fracking industry is trying to sell us a safe cigarette.
The goal is the same: create doubt surrounding the real science and undermine regulation to increase corporate profits.
Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the minds of the public.
Source Public health as a tobacco industry competitor.
Remember this: Your health competes with fracking.