The U.S. Environmental Defense Fund’s decision to work with the oil and gas industry on a major study of methane emissions from fracking operations “fills a critical void,” but is raising concerns about the organization’s close collaboration with oil and gas interests, InsideClimate News reports.
EDF “is one of the nation’s most venerable environmental organizations, and many consider it one of the most effective,” Song and Bagley write. But with its methane work, other environmental groups “worry EDF has strayed into a grey area where science and the fossil fuel industry collide.”
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The organization’s $18-million methane project began in 2011. And it’s tremendously important, given methane’s huge impact as a relatively short-acting greenhouse gas. “Environmental groups almost never take on scientific research efforts,” ICN notes, and the research “has turned EDF into a heavyweight on the science of methane pollution.”
But “working with gas companies deepened many environmentalists’ longstanding frustration and mistrust of EDF, which has collaborated with industry on green issues for three decades. It further solidified the group’s position as an outlier in the environmental movement.” EDF “generally supports fracking with appropriate regulations, including a ban on the practice in sensitive areas,” ICN explains.
“What EDF is trying to do is put filters on cigarettes,” said biologist Sandra Steingraber, a scholar-in-residence at New York’s Ithaca College. “There’s no way we can frack our way to climate stability. There’s no scientific evidence for that.”
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