I don’t fault people for being concerned about how drilling activity might affect their lives. I understand being worried about groundwater contamination, pollution, and the potential effects of drilling operations on flora and fauna. The problem is that much of the time, sensationalism passes for fact, raising groundless fears that, when acted upon, can have serious repercussions. Case in point. Reuters published a story on January 5 about Chesapeake Energy’s reaction to proposed regulations in New York that, if passed, will govern shale gas drilling operations. The article quotes Chesapeake representatives explaining why the regulations will make drilling difficult and possibly prohibitively costly. And Talisman Energy subsidiary Fortuna Energy is included as a supporter of Chesapeake’s claims. According to the writer, the primary issue is that operating companies would have to disclose the chemical components of frac fluids and that the companies are not willing to do so. Clearly, that is not the only issue. That aside, a much bigger problem arises when the opposition’s position is explained. The article states: “Environmentalists have raised serious health concerns about the chemicals used in hydro-fracturing, including that they might cause cancer. “Neighbors of shale drilling operations in other states have complained their drinking water has become discolored or foul-smelling, their pets and farm animals have died from drinking it, and their children have suffered from diarrhea and vomiting.” Interestingly, there is no mention in the article that no factual evidence has been produced to prove that any of these allegations are true (other than a statement by Chesapeake stating the allegations “have no basis in science or reality”). So once again, the oil and gas industry is demonized without evidence, and government decisions are being influenced by emotion instead of fact. Our industry has to find a way to stop this cycle. Unfortunately, I don’t have any suggestions about how this can be accomplished. As an aside, I should comment on the photo that runs with the Reuters piece. The image that accompanies the article pictures demonstrators holding up signs protesting hydraulic fracturing. I realize that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I seriously wonder what message this demonstrator hoped to convey with a sign that says “Frack is Wack.”