Saturday, April 02, 2011

Controversy over NY State Geologist's comments on hydraulic fracturing

New York State Geologist Langhorne B. "Taury" Smith Jr. [photo credit, NY State Museum] said in an interview with the Albany Times Union a few weeks ago that concerns over hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale for natural gas production were exaggerated. Those comments were repeated in an editorial in the New York Post.

As a result, according to a follow up story in the Times Union,
He is being castigated by representatives of environmental groups and is under close scrutiny by his employer, the State Education Department. He has become a target of attacks from activists opposed to the state pushing ahead with plans to allow natural gas to be extracted from deep shale recesses using a process called hydraulic fracturing.

The Education Department will not allow Smith to talk to reporters now. Besides muzzling him, the department, which oversees his New York State Museum geology unit, won't permit him to take calls. Instead, the department provided a reporter a copy of its internal protocol for handling media inquiries which says failure to check with the office of communications first would result in "appropriate administrative action."

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