The author of this article is Marita Noon. On Heartland.org, Noon is listed as an expert. The source of her expertise is completely unknown. She is not a scientist, an educator, or an engineer. She has no scientific degree that I have discovered. Around 20o8, Noon started writing articles and books and giving speeches on energy and energy policy. Before that, she wrote books on Christianity.
Heartland is well-known for its disinformation campaigns to protect corporations against law suits for all sorts of dangerous products. For example, about tobacco Heartland says
The public health community's campaign to demonize smokers and all forms of tobacco is based on junk science.About asbestos, once again blaming junk science for public misconceptions, Heartland says
Research has confirmed that asbestos workers who do not use protective breathing apparatus suffer increased health risks. For the remaining 99+ percent of the U.S. population, however, asbestos health risks are virtually nil.This paragraph is in lawyer-speak. Translated into words we all can understand, it means that anyone exposed to airborne asbestos, including the spouses and children of those directly exposed, has an increased chance of getting mesothelioma, a rare, incurable, and painful form of cancer. This risk applies to anyone exposed to asbestos dust, including the first responders on 9/11.
Heartland is funded by the tobacco industry and the asbestos industry. It is also funded by the energy industry, since it received more than $600,000 from Exxon/Mobil and more than $200,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation. Exactly how much money the energy industry pays Heartland to spread disinformation can't be known because they're not telling. But it's plenty.
So I think we can fairly conclude that Noon is a flack for the energy industry.
Noon's article is filled with half-truths and outright lies. Commenting on Noon's article in the Daily Times, Bo Webb writes
Marita, you are not anywhere close on the truth of Mountaintop Removal.Unlike Noon, Webb is an expert on Mountaintop Removal.
Among other misconceptions, Noon writes that
There were no federal programs with subsidies, tax breaks, and mandated markets to favor the shale industry.This is false. Aside from the billions of dollars of federal subsidies going directly to the oil companies, the federal government spent $140 million to develop fracking technology starting in 1987.
Flacks like Noon and front groups like Heartland claim to be educating the people about important issues like energy policy and global warming. The truth is that they do precisely the opposite. They propagate lies and half-truths. They muddy the waters and make it difficult for the average person to understand an issue. We must expose these liars whenever possible and make it difficult for them to submit an article to a newspaper anywhere in the world.