The disgraced NYT Gas Reporter today self-importantly tells his readers that the Securities Exchange Commission served subpoenas on unnamed gas drilling companies as result of his June 26th article that accused the shale gas industry of being a ponzi scheme filled with Enrons.
As I said on June 26th, that day's article just about called for FBI raids. SEC subpoenas will have to do for now.
The power of the press is considerable and abused at times as the News Corps scandal highlights. The rogue NYT gas reporter is gratingly self-important, but he does wield a mighty pen that convinces many and makes the federal government jump. The SEC is the latest jumper.
Consider what the NYT gas reporter has wrought.
He has triggered massive testing of Pennsylvania's waters for radiation; made EPA Region 3 to make a show of policing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection within a week of his February 27th story; caused the Energy Information Administration to explain itself to members of the US House of Representatives and to testify to the US Senate at a hearing on whether it was cooking the books on shale gas supply; and now the SEC has reportedly issued subpoenas and is apparently investigating whether one or some gas companies have broken any laws governing representations to investors.
The NYT reporter is not being ignored. He cannot be, since he is employed by the NYT that influences millions, especially on the East coast. He has power, but what does his power serve, anything more than his own person and the commercial success of the NYT?
The results of the testing, hearings, and investigations unleashed by the February and June NYT gas stories already disprove that Pennsylvania's waters were polluted with radiation from gas drilling and that the EIA bosses were cooking its data on shale gas supplies. They prove that those stories were substantially false.
In response to his February 27th story creating the false specter that Pennsylvania's waters and drinking water were contaminated with radionuclides, massive radiation testing of streams and tap water were conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Pennsylvania American Water Company, and 14 other water companies.
All that testing has proven that Pennsylvania's waters are not poisoned with radiation, but that has not compelled the NYT to report prominently or at all the results, the facts, the test results. No big sunday story saying, "Pennsylvania Waters Safe; NYT Story Wrong."
The original false story lives on, grotesquely deforming opinion, leading or allowing others to this day to repeat the NYT's original falsehood that gas drilling has poisoned with radiation drinking water in Pennsylvania.
As for the reckless charge that EIA was cooking the shale gas supply books, the EIA boss at the US Senate hearing put all the facts transparently on the witness table, including how the rogue NYT gas reporter manipulated emails by malicious redaction to create a false appearance of impropriety. At the same hearing, MIT reaffirmed its assessment confirming massive shale gas supplies in America and its judgment that 500 trillion cubic feet of shale gas could be produced at a gas price of $6 for a thousand cubic feet.
Yet, the lie that the EIA cooked the shale gas books will live on vampire like.
And now the shale gas industry that produced in 2000 less than 1% of US gas supplies and currently supplies 25% of US natural gas, more than 16 billion cubic feet per day, will have to answer subpoenas and work under the Ponzi, Enron cloud.
But just like the charges about radiation and EIA book cooking, the idea that the shale gas industry is a big ponzi scheme is false, smashed by 16 billion cubic feet per day production, numerous independent reserve studies, and $4 natural gas that shale gas production has made real.
The NYT gas reporter has the power of a reckless charge printed in the NYT and that is considerable. It changes events and the short-run behavior of the federal government. It does not change the truth.