Yes, that is a coloring-book dinosaur here to tell us all that fracking is perfectly safe, but we’ll get back to that in a second.
First, you should know that earlier this week, a Duke professor put forth a study (pdf) about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, the process by which natural gas is extracted from the earth when chemical-infused water and sand is blasted into shale. His contention is that the chemical process for extracting that natural gas is indeed dangerous. But not so much the fracking part:
…methane contamination is not caused by injecting chemicals down the well. It is caused by bad well construction during drilling.
“The hot-button issue is fracking,” said Robert Jackson, the Duke professor who authored the study, in an interview. But, he said, “I believe it’s more about the drilling than the fracking.”
The coloring book’s overt message – drilling is smart, safe and American – is delivered in kid-friendly fashion, glossing over the environmental and economic controversies that have surrounded drillers tapping the Marcellus Shale rock formation for lucrative pockets of gas.
The Marcellus Shale formation is named for the town in New York State where there’s a lot of it – the same New York State where fracking is banned through at least next summer. But Talisman Energy would have us believe “Talisman Terry,” the pro-fracking dinosaur, who tells us that the process is just setting that natural gas “free” from the underground rocks that imprison it! That bad, bad New York State, keeping all that natural gas in the ground!
As Grist notes, it calls to mind the later-proven-to-be-a-hoax Peabody Coal website, Coalcares.org, which offered Justin Bieber-branded inhalers to kids living near coal plants. Sadly, this coloring-book-as-fracking-propaganda-for-children is actually real.
We have a call into Talisman Energy for comment. We’ll let you know what we hear, even if it’s something akin to this.