An editorial published yesterday in The Oklahoman lauding the oil and gas industry failed to mention the state’s major earthquake crisis and even credited the industry with waging a fight against global warming, which the newspaper hasn’t even really supported as a concept through the years.
— PBS (@PBS) September 5, 2016
The editorial, “Oklahoma energy industry remains an economic cornerstone,” is pure spin. It’s a lie in so many different ways. It’s as if it was written by industry officials themselves, which it was in a way, because it mainly cites a report by the American Petroleum Institute, hardly a neutral source.
That the energy sector is important to Oklahoma is obvious. So that’s not a lie. What’s not so obvious in the rosy assessment by The Oklahoman of that well accepted fact is that the state’s financial welfare is overly tied to the sector and that the state has failed to really diversify its economy. It’s a major problem here, and it has been for decades.
All these earthquakes here—from the 5.8-magnitude Saturday, largest in Oklahoma recorded history, to the smaller ones that strike on a daily basis—have brought the failure of economic diversification to a crisis, a point the editorial doesn’t make.
What happens when the actions of a state’s “cornerstone” industry cause massive property damage resulting in lawsuits and most likely even more lawsuits in the future? These are lawsuits that could stop hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, here altogether.
Here’s a counter argument or at least a different frame on the issue: A report by the American Petroleum Institute shows, again, how the state needs to find different ways beyond oil and gas to save the economy and to keep Oklahoma viable.
To be fair, the editorial does mention the expansion of wind power generation here, but it makes a highly suspect or shady claim about greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s the claim:
. . . Oklahoma’s energy industry is a major reason greenhouse gas emissions have declined. Global warming alarmists should take note. Opposition to drilling could cause the environmental problems they claim to oppose.
I’m unsure where The Oklahoman gets its facts, and I know its editorial writers lack basic logical writing skills, but the overall trajectory of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has steadily increased for a long, long time. In 2013, NASA reported it hit the new milestone of 400 parts per million, a scientific measurement that means it’s a record. Manmade carbon dioxide accelerates the greenhouse effect that helps warms the earth. Natural gas might be cleaner than coal, but it’s hardly a panacea. Temporary dips mean nothing at this point. Huge skyrockets in carbon dioxide levels do as do consistent record-breaking temperatures. Look at the rising sea levels in the United States. (See the article at the end of this post.)
Also, and I don’t want to apply too much logic here because it might make the editorial board members’ heads implode, the “increased” use of fossil fuels, including natural gas, which everyone agrees would obviously help the Oklahoma economy in some manner, would also only accelerate global warming more. The Oklahoman argument is simply a twisted saga of subterfuge and lies. The newspaper leaders don’t care about global warming. They don’t care about the earthquake emergency here.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) September 3, 2016
Note the term “global warming alarmists” in the above quote and follow the logic if you can. People are alarmists if they believe in the underlying science of climate change. Yet these alarmists, which implies they are wrong, of course, should support drilling because drilling helps fix a problem that doesn’t exist. Get it?
But I think the absolute shadiest part of the editorial is the omission of any mention of the earthquake crisis here. Published just three days after an oil and gas activity-related 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook up Oklahoma, the editorial doesn’t even refer to the saltwater disposal wells used in the fracking process that scientists say cause the numerous earthquakes we now experience here on a virtual daily basis.
The lack of any mention of earthquakes in the editorial is no doubt intentional, and the positive spin given to the oil and gas industry coming so soon after a major earthquake and the damage it caused is really what the editorial is all about. It’s spin control. As long as Oklahomans continue to buy into the spin, there’s not much to be done about it.
— spotted_towhee (@amborin) August 18, 2016