New Chamber of Commerce survey just propaganda

The Montana Chamber of Commerce is busy promoting their new “scientific” survey of Montana residents. The survey, conducted in October, shows that 59% of Montanans approve of fracking.

It’s important to keep in mind that the Chamber is a political organization with a stated mission of being “the advocate of business in Montana and the driving force in promoting a favorable business climate.” This survey is a propaganda tool to push that agenda, not an accurate reading of the opinions of residents.

Here’s the actual question they asked (see page 28):

A 60-year old process known as hydraulic fracturing (also known as “fracking”) along with horizontal drilling is producing oil and gas across the U.S.that was previously unrecoverable. The process has produced significant economic growth and American-made energy. Opponents of fracking claim that the process threatens the environment through groundwater contamination, earthquakes, disease and methane leaks. While none have been substantiated, such claims have affected public policy on “fracking” in some states by way of bans and moratoriums. Do you think “fracking” should or should not be used in Montana to continue increased oil and gas production.

In other words, do you believe in America or those damned environmentalists?

The important lesson here is that one of key goals of the movement to prohibit fracking on the Beartooth Front has to be education. If people understand the proven dangers of fracking, they will be much more reluctant to allow the practice.

Imagine what the response would be if the question were asked this way:

Fracking is a method of oil and gas extraction that has dubious economic benefits, that has been proven to endanger groundwater through the contamination of known carcinogens, that releases large amounts of carbon into the air, that is associated with dramatic increases in crime and disastrous changes in the quality of life in areas where it has become widespread. Do you approve of going forward with fracking as quickly as possible without regulation, or would you prefer to wait until fracking technology becomes safe and the government has had time to control the practice in a way that will ensure the safety of you and your neighbors?

If people see the issue as a choice between economic growth or unsubstantiated claims about the risks of fracking, it’s obvious what they will choose. If they understand clearly there are proven dangers from fracking, and that they only need to look next door in North Dakota to find them, their opinions will be substantially different.

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
Aside | This entry was posted in Community Organization, Politics and History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to New Chamber of Commerce survey just propaganda

  1. Clint Austin says:

    Went to their page and couldn’t find anything, why no link?

  2. Alex Heyneman says:

    I agree, you can lead a horse to water, with the Idea of economic benefits, but will that horse stick around after he has been sickened by the water?

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