CA journo fracking dissembler No. 1: Timm Herdt

June 27, 2013

By Chris Reed

As I have noted many times in recent months, the Obama administration dismisses claims that hydraulic fracturing — the use of underground water cannons to free up oil and natural gas reserves — is an environmental nightmare. This has been true since the president’s first year in office. This is incredibly relevant to California, given that we could benefit enormously from “fracking” were it allowed to proceed and release the energy in the Monterey Shale.

But it took four years for this truth to finally appear in the pages of The Los Angeles Times — and even then it was in an op-ed, not in the news pages, which would rather not share with LAT readers the Obama administration’s gung-ho support of fracking’s safety.

Now it is time to start calling out California journalists by name for their refusal to provide the key context that the administration of the greenest president in history says fracking is just another heavy industry that can be made safe with proper regulation.

He writes about fracking safety, never mentions Obama stand

herdtMeet Timm Herdt of the Ventura County Star. He’s written many times about fracking, which could soon be big in eastern Ventura County if state regulators don’t get in the way. His latest piece — the link is from the Contra Costa Times, which doesn’t have a paywall, unlike the Star — is about how fracking scare tactics have fared in California.

“There is evidence to suggest that Californians are not so different from New Yorkers in their apprehension over fracking. In fact, a USC poll of Californians last month and a Siena College poll of New Yorkers this month revealed nearly identical public sentiment: 45 percent opposition here, 44 percent opposition in New York, and 37 percent support in both states.

“‘In New York, we are winning,’ Mark Schlosberg of Food and Water Watch told the crowd in San Jose last week. He said activists there have made it clear to lawmakers that there are political consequences to supporting fracking and that they’ve also dogged Gov. Mario Cuomo to keep up the pressure to maintain the moratorium.

“‘In California, fracking is virtually unregulated,’ he said. ‘Gov. Jerry Brown could really make a big difference.’

“Except there’s this: When asked publicly last month about his thoughts on fracking, Brown’s response was that while there are issues to examine, it ‘could be a fabulous economic opportunity.'”

Context? Not from Timm. Federal views of fracking disregarded

But did Herdt mention the Obama administration’s upbeat depictions of fracking’s safety? Did he make the obvious point that this might be why Gov. Brown is sounding positive about fracking? Did he cite the stands of the president’s energy secretary, interior secretary and EPA chief, all of whom deride fracking alarmism?


Timm Herdt, for whatever reason, has decided that’s just not relevant to his coverage of fracking in California.


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