Anti-Fracking Donor Memo Mapped Out Strategy To Attack Oil And Gas With Questionable Health Claims

A strategy memo from 2012 encouraged anti-fracking groups to make connections between health problems and fracking, even when no evidence existed to support the linkage. The goal of the plan, which included leveraging the power of the media and a focus on young children, was to undermine support for oil and natural gas development and expand regulations.

The 2012 memo, entitled “Public Health Dimensions of Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing: Knowledge, Obstacles, Tactics, and Opportunities,” was authored by Seth Shonkoff, who at the time was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. Shonkoff is now the executive director of an Ithaca, N.Y.-based group called Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy(PSEHE), which describes itself as “a multidisciplinary research and policy institute focused on the adoption of evidence-based energy policy.”

An Energy In Depth review of documents and communications between activist groups and their funders further reveals how this strategy has been implemented over the past several years, contributing to bans and other restrictions on fracking.


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