The safe, well-regulated production of America’s clean-burning natural gas resources continues to be a broadly unifying issue that’s bringing together small businesses, manufacturers and unions while winning the praise of environmentally-minded leaders, including President Obama and his top advisors.
In fact, we don’t have to choose between protecting and enhancing our environment or economic growth and opportunity. It’s simply a false choice to suggest otherwise. As more natural gas is used to generate electricity, power our manufacturing sites and fuel our growing transportation demands, America has reduced its CO2 emissions more than any other nation.
Given this positive and shared progress, which is especially benefiting middle-class families and those on fixed income, it’s alarming that some politicians are manufacturing baseless partisan attacks on an industry developing energy for the very states many of them call home.
These politicians, led by anti-fracking activist Eric Schneiderman who is New York State’s attorney general along with others from non-oil and natural gas-producing states, have drawn sharp rebuke from influential legal and business community voices, particularly given their reliance on provably false claims “reported” by so-called activists veiled as journalists.
Karen Harbert of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce underscored the potentially dangerous precedent of this politically-charged attack: “The idea that a group of attorneys general can get together and decide to collaborate and corroborate, to persecute not just a single company now but an industry, because they are ideologically opposed to the product it produces, is un-American.”
Here’s what others are saying:
- W.Va. AG Patrick Morrisey: “As the W.Va. Attorney General, I will strongly oppose efforts by anyone to bully job producers into compliance with this illegal and unprecedented regulation.” (Release, 3/29/16)
- Okla. & Ala. AGs Scott Pruitt & Luther Strange: “[S]cientific and political debate is healthy, and it should be encouraged. It should not be silenced with threats of criminal prosecution by those who believe that their position is the only correct one and that all dissenting voices must therefore be intimidated and coerced into silence. It is inappropriate for State Attorneys General to use the power of their office to attempt to silence core political speech on one of the major policy debates of our time.” (Release, 3/30/16)
- La. AG Jeff Landry: “It is one thing to use the legal system to pursue public policy outcomes; but it is quite another to use prosecutorial weapons to intimidate critics, silence free speech, or chill the robust exchange of ideas. We have seen powerful forces at work nationally targeting, most recently and visibly, our nation’s coal industry. It is now abundantly clear that the crosshairs have shifted to our country’s oil and natural gas industries.” (Release, 3/30/16)
- American Chemistry Council: “As an industry built on scientific innovation, we believe robust inquiry and a free exchange of ideas are essential to innovation and the development of products that grow our economy and improve our environment. The actions by a partisan group of state attorneys general is a misguided effort that will infringe upon free speech and impede the full consideration of emerging and diverse scientific research by companies, large and small, throughout the U.S.” (Release, 3/29/16)
- Nat’l Association of Manufacturers: “Their actions seek to intimidate those who are committed to free speech and debate. With an ever present threat of fishing expeditions and litigation, manufacturers’ ability to freely exchange ideas and information is under assault. … Attorneys General should instead be focused on promoting a legal system that is conducive to economic growth and competitiveness. This is a particularly disturbing action, at a time when Americans want policymakers focused on policies that create jobs.” (Release, 3/29/16)
Pennsylvanians, and all U.S. citizens, expect and deserve thoughtful, principled and solutions-focused leadership from our elected officials – as well as objectivity and balanced rigor from the media – not partisan attacks manufactured purely to advance narrow political agendas as well as newspaper headlines and fear.