February 6, 2013

A DEC appointment I can't complain about

New York Hires Fracking Geologist With Ties to Industry screams the headline:

Robert Jacobi was picked by the Department of Environmental Conservation for a seismology study as part of its environmental review of the drilling process known as fracking, Lisa King, an agency spokeswoman, said in an e-mail this week. Jacobi is a University at Buffalo professor and has advised drillers for two decades.

"It raises questions about whether the DEC is just following the lead of industry on this or is taking their work seriously," Kevin Connor, director of the Public Accountability Initiative, a Buffalo-based group that studies ties between business and government, said in an interview. "Is there a pattern of regulatory capture at the DEC?"

Jacobi, however, is the guy who studied fault lines in New York State and found many many more than the DEC's weak geology section recognized.

While I understand the concern, the unfortunate reality is that geology and oil and gas exploration have been married for a century. There aren't enough people who understand the science but haven't taken the cash. If I was going to be paranoid about this, I'd worry in a different direction: that DEC likes their currently broken geology section, and hope that bringing Jacobi in will help them avoid changing it to reflect a more complex reality.

No, I don't think that's why they're hiring him. I have some small hope remaining that they're in the process of recognizing they botched that, and will use the extra time created by their probably failed rush to the finish line to fix it. Maybe they actually read my letter on the SGEIS, which cited him?

In many ways I think this is a great sign! We'll see.

Posted by simon at February 6, 2013 8:19 AM in
Note on photos