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Media Tout Pro-Fracking Report, Fail to Mention it Was Funded By the Gas Industry

Major news outlets failed to mention it was paid for by America's Natural Gas Alliance, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Chemistry Council and the Natural Gas Supply Association.
 
 
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Photo Credit: Tara Lohan/Meghan Nesbit

 
 
 
 

Multiple mainstream media outlets have covered a new report touting the economic benefits from hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") without disclosing the report's industry funding.

The recently released  study, titled "America's New Energy Future: The Unconventional Oil & Gas Revolution and the US Economy," received widespread media attention on Thursday. The report, conducted by consulting group IHS CERA, was commissioned by multiple fossil fuel organizations that stand to benefit from growth in the oil and gas industry. According to the  report, the increase in unconventional oil and natural gas extraction has added an average of $1,200 in discretionary income to each US household in 2012, and now supports 1.2 million jobs -- projected to increase to 3.3 million by 2020. These figures are much  larger than the findings of many previous economic studies.

However, multiple major news outlets, including  ReutersCNBCForbes.com, and the  Los Angeles Times, covered the new report with no mention of its financial ties to the industry. The research was monetarily  supported by America's Natural Gas Alliance, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Chemistry Council, the Natural Gas Supply Association, and others who stand to gain economically from an  unregulated increase in fracking. Kyle Isakower, vice president of regulatory policy at the American Petroleum Institute -- the largest trade association for the oil and gas industry --  lauded the new report, saying "[f]or an organization like the American Petroleum Institute, being able to cite the findings and reputation of IHS goes a long way toward making its point to government officials." According to  Steve Forde, vice president of policy and communication at the Marcellus Shale Coalition (an industry trade group), economic impact studies such as this are "an important advocacy tool" for industry development.

Bloomberg, which did disclose the report's industry ties, reported that the IHS report didn't take potential environmental impacts from extracting unconventional oil and gas through drilling and fracking, such as  groundwater contamination and strains on water resources, into account.

Denise Robbins joined Media Matters' Environment and Energy team in 2013. Prior to working with Media Matters, she worked in communications for renewable energy and environmental advocacy organizations.

 
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