Yesterday's use of Professor Howarth to analyze gas drilling video by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation underlines once more that Prof. Howarth continues to have big impact in the media and is still influential with some environmental organizations.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation does important work and has made real contributions to the protection of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. As a result, it is painful to see CBF associate with Prof. Howarth, and the association undermines CBF's credibility and mission.
In preparing comments for the EPA's July proposed drilling air rules, CBF hired Professor Howarth to analyze video made with an infrared camera "at 15 sites in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia," according to Alex Dominguez of the Associated Press. Also see www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/maryland/chesapeake-bay-foundation-infrared-video-shows-gas-drilling-pollution-113011.
Monitoring gas drilling is a good thing, and I only wish similar focus was applied to other forms of extraction. Analyzing observations to make sure that they are accurately made and accurately interpreted is vital too. When I was Secretary, I received important information in this way and also often received information, including video, that upon professional, unbiased analysis did not show a problem at all.
Yet, hiring Howarth to analyze video of the gas drilling industry is akin to hiring Oliver Stone (or anyone in the JFK conspiracy industry) to analyze the Zapgruder film of President Kennedy's assassination.
CBF has a soft spot for Prof. Howarth and previously ran a pro-howarth piece in the Chesapeake Bay Journal at www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=4151.
My question for the Bay Journal and for CBF, have you read yourselves and more importantly told your members and readers about the 6 studies that eviscerate Prof. Howarth's credibility? Those would be the Carnegie Mellon University study financed by the Sierra Club, the WorldWatch Institute study, the National Energy Technology Laboratory Study, the University of Maryland, other researchers at Cornell University itself, and CERA. Please read a great comment made by Concerned Scientist to the posting entitled: "The New Yorker On Shale Gas Dumps Howarth Into Oblivion," dated tuesday, November 29th.
The Chesapeake Bay needs better than its friends embracing Howarth who falsely tells the world that coal is as dirty as gas, when coal emits twice the carbon as gas and much more toxics and soot. The EPA estimates that the proposed air toxic rule alone would prevent up to 34,000 annual deaths per year now caused by pollution coming from mainly 40 plus year old coal plants without modern pollution controls. Enough said.