Why Is Governor Cuomo Letting a Climate Science Denier Regulate Fracking?

by Phil Radford

September 17, 2012

Carol French of the Pennsylvania Landowner Group for the Awareness and Solutions (PLGAS) holds a jar of contaminated water from the well that supplies her home in Bradford County. French, a mid-size dairy farmer, leased land to the gas industry but found information about the impacts of the hydraulic fracturing drilling process on land, water and roads is lacking. French has spoken at public events in the eastern United States to inform local residents about her experience with the new technology and local impacts.

© Les Stone / Greenpeace

A Pennsylvania resident displays evidence from the impacts of hydraulic fracking from a nearby well

Read this original Huffington Post blogfrom Greenpeace’s Executive Director Phil Radford.

Governor Cuomo relies onBradley J Field— a climate skeptic — to head New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Mineral Resources. Unfortunately, Mr. Field has proven to be out of sync with the scientific community on the environmental issue with the greatest scientific consensus — climate change. And despite this, he is responsible for making sure that New York’s regulation of fracking is based on good science.

I was deeply troubled to discover that Bradley Fieldsigned a documentcalled theOregon Petition, also known as the Global Warming Petition Project. The petition states “there’s no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

Circulated by theOregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which has a mission of producing home schooling curriculum aimed at combating “socialism in education,” the petition’s main endorsers range from well-known climate change science deniers likeFred SeitzandFred Singer, who have also denied a link between tobacco smoking and cancer, to names of characters fromM*A*S*Hand a Spice Girls member.

As the public official responsible for regulating the release of methane and other global warming pollution from the fracking process, it is downright frightening to think that Mr. Field is so out of sync with modern science.

I recently wroteMr. Field and asked for his stance on climate change. For weeks now he has refused to respond to my letter, and would not take repeated phone calls to his office.I also sent a letterto Mr. Field’s boss, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a letter in which I asked him:

Do you believe that Mr. Field can serve as a competent science adviser to you, considering he denies the science of global warming? As a climate science denier, Mr. Field stands in disagreement with the National Academy of Sciences, NOAA, NASA, the Pentagon, and an overwhelming consensus of accredited climate scientists.

Since methane is a potent greenhouse gas, do you, Governor Cuomo, believe that natural gas exploitation in New York threatens to exacerbate climate change?

Our communities are suffering from strange, extreme weather events that are supercharged by climate change already. In this day and age, we can only judge our leaders by their courageous acts to chart a sustainable path for future generations. I do not believe that can happen if someone as scientifically misguided as Bradley Field is his adviser. I am therefore joiningFood and Water WatchandCatskills Citizens for Safe Energyin calling for the resignation of Bradley Field. Join me andsign the petition here.

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