Associated Press Misleads Public With Headline Saying “Study: Drilling Threatens Wildlife,” by Tom Randall

BACKGROUND: An Associated Press story by Josef Herbert with the headline cited above spends 15 paragraphs explaining how a U.S. Geological Survey study shows how oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would threaten wildlife there. It is only in the 16th and 17th paragraphs, at the end of the story, that the AP publishes the accurate conclusions drawn by the study, saying:

“In a memo to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Charles Groat, said he wanted to ‘clarify certain aspects’ of the report, including that the research also showed ‘with mitigation the effect of human developmentcould be minimal’ where most wildlife are concerned.

“But Groat acknowledged that adverse risks to the Porcupine caribou ‘would depend on the type of development and where the development occurred.'” 1

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: The study by the U.S. Geological Survey is entirely consistent with what proponents of exploration have said all along. The AP story is a distortion of the report.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: When reports by government agencies present a balance of alternative actions and results, it is wrong for reporters to sensationalize certain aspects to suit what are apparently preconceived notions and viewsthen throw in at the end a Gilda Radneresque, “Never mind.” It should be remembered that even Bill Clinton’s own energy department found oil exploration could be environmentally-friendly and opened more of Alaska’s North Slope to drilling.

DISCUSSION: To learn more about what the Clinton administration said and did regarding oil exploration, and pick up useful quotes, read Ten Second Response “Bill Clinton’s Department of Energy on Record: Oil and Gas Exploration is Environmentally-Friendly” by Tom Randall at:

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