WATCH: Who Were the Top “Science” Advisors Behind New York’s Fracking Ban?

In the wake of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) five year study finding that “hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systematic impacts to drinking water resources” – and Gasland Director Josh Fox accusing Fox News’ Stuart Varney of “lying” for explaining what the report actually said – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking in the Empire State is under the spotlight once again.

Since the ban was enacted, a question has lingered without much of an answer: on whom did Governor Cuomo rely as advisors to ban fracking?

Cuomo suggested the ban was based on “science,” but in a new video released today, Energy In Depth unveils the cast of characters who played an instrumental role in denying Upstate New York a fresh economic opportunity.


Photo: Zillo

Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Ingraffea, Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Josh Fox

  • The “Hulk,” Mark Ruffalo: Ruffalo, whose green credentials include playing The Hulk in Avengers, hates fracking and all fossil fuels. But that hasn’t stopped him from using them. As the Free Beacon reported, Ruffalo recently offered to fly the winners of a raffle to the world premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron…on jets that burn fossil fuels.
  • Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon: Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon’s contributions to the anti-fracking movement consist of a number of spectacles, such as the performance of a song they wrote called, “Don’t Frack My Mother,” starring a number of B- and C-list celebrities.
  • Josh Fox, Director of Gasland: A poll released last year found that the public trusts Josh Fox and the Gasland films the least for getting the facts on fracking. That’s not surprising, considering that the iconic scenes in both of the Gasland films – the flaming faucet and garden hose – were exposed as fraud.  But Governor Cuomo relied on Fox’s sensationalism over the scientific and regulatory determinations in dozens of other states.
  • Al “Crucify Them” Armendariz: It’s hard to believe that New York’s Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), which is the basis for the state’s ban on fracking, actually cites a paper by former U.S. EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz, who famously declared that his “general philosophy” was to “crucify” oil and gas producers – to “hit them as hard as you can” and “make examples out of them.”
  • Anti-fracking activist and poet, Sandra Steingraber. Another paper featured prominently in the health study used to justify the ban on fracking was written by a number of anti-fracking groups and peer-reviewed by Sandra Steingraber, the co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking.  Steingraber  failed to disclose her anti-fracking bias, which goes against at least four codes for scientific ethics.
  • Anti-fracking researcher Anthony Ingraffea. Not to be outdone, a report by Anthony Ingraffea – who founded the anti-fracking group, Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSEHE) and has openly admitted that he uses “advocacy-laced words and phrases” in his reports – was also used to justify the ban.  What does that have to do with actors like Ruffalo?   As Ingraffea has explained, “Mark Ruffalo has a couple million twitter followers…So, every once in a while Mark emails me or calls me and says ‘What have you got?’ And I give him 144 characters and he tweets it. He is my megaphone.”

EID recently testified before Congress and released a whitepaper, which points out that many of the research papers used to justify the New York fracking ban were written, peer-reviewed and funded by anti-fracking activists.

Relying on this so-called celebrity “science” was clearly the basis for a political decision by Governor Cuomo. But it also has real world implications for the folks in upstate New York, who are missing out on tens of thousands jobs and economic growth that would have come from shale development.  As Fox News reported, “Cuomo’s decision risks up to 54,000 fracking-related New York jobs — jobs that don’t exist now since fracking is not allowed, but could have been generated with the approval of various projects in the future.”


There’s a good reason Democratic leaders across the country, like President Obama,  Presidential candidate (and former Maryland Governor) Martin O’Malley (D), New York Senator Chuck Schumer, and Governors Jerry Brown (D-CA), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and Tom Wolf (D-PA) are embracing shale development and all the benefits it provides.  Yet Cuomo persists in consulting junk science – or shall we say “hulk science”?

Watch EID’s video – Who Were the Top “Science” Advisors Behind New York’s Fracking Ban? – to learn more!


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