If your goal is to shut down oil and gas development, but your arguments have been consistently debunked and rebutted by scientific facts and empirical evidence, there are two paths you can take: The first is to acknowledge that your goals are unsupported by the facts, and move on to another issue about which you feel passionate.
The second, more aggressive path is to pretend that science and facts actually don’t matter (as activists in Michigan recently admitted), and that evidence contradicting what you desperately want to believe is somehow a personal attack.
Unfortunately for their credibility, opponents all too often take the latter path. This was on full display in a recent piece for the Huffington Post by Brendan DeMelle, managing editor of DeSmogBlog. Mr. DeMelle’s thesis is that news reports attacking the responsible development of oil and natural gas from shale are not only 100 percent grounded in fact, but that suggesting any flaws in that reporting is nothing more than ad hominem. In other words, critical thinking and questioning the accuracy of what’s printed in the news are simply unacceptable.
Most folks would strongly disagree with that notion. But we also have to remember that virtually every accusation made against hydraulic fracturing – from water contamination claims to air emissions to public health – has been swatted down by the facts. Waking up every day and having your talking points debunked would no doubt be exhausting, and the only way to deny the truth is to establish a different set of rules by which your claims can be judged – something other than science and verifiable evidence.