by Jon Entine
July 17, 2014
As recently as six years ago, natural gas was a favored fuel of leading environmental groups. The fuel was seen as a marriage of enlightened capitalism and pragmatic progressivism, welcomed as a relatively low-impact alternative to America’s industrial and power-generating workhorse, coal. What is responsible for the turnaround? For one thing, advances in extraction technology made gas inexpensive and caused it to be used much more extensively. The ensuing swing against it has been spurred by a carefully coordinated outpouring of research, media, and advocacy grants by the Park Foundation, headquartered at the epicenter of one of the most promising shale gas regions in the U.S., and home to Cornell University, the academic base for the country’s most vehement anti-shale activists. For a relatively small investment, strategically distributed, the Park Foundation has derailed shale-gas development in methane-rich New York state, and put its imprint on public opinion and policy decisions around the country.