Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told more than a million of her Twitter followers that her and her team recorded a “fracking” site in Colorado releasing toxic emissions into the environment.
“I’m in Colorado with Joe Neguse visiting communities whose air is being poisoned by fracking,” she said in a tweet on Saturday evening. “What we’re seeing is appalling.”
The Democratic congresswoman went on to describe that “companies are building fracking sites on public lands, across the street from schools and homes.”
She also definitively claimed: “Their toxic emissions are invisible. This camera sees them.”
Check it out:
I’m in Colorado w/ @JoeNeguse visiting communities whose air is being poisoned by fracking.
What we’re seeing is appalling. Companies are building fracking sites on public lands, across the street from schools + homes.
Their toxic emissions are invisible. This camera sees them. pic.twitter.com/Kem0MT1lMj
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 21, 2019
It is a pretty compelling story if the congresswoman was taken at her word—but the Daily Caller reports “several hydraulic fracturing experts” are refuting the story.
From the report:
However, oil and gas experts who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation confirmed that the images caught on Ocasio-Cortez’s infrared camera were just heat signatures, not toxic emissions. In fact, they also noted that no fracking is even taking place at this particular site.
“Statements regarding an infrared (FLIR) video tweeted by Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez yesterday evening are categorically false,” Brian Cain, a spokesman for Extraction Oil & Gas, told the Daily Caller on Monday.
“In the short video, the congresswoman claimed to see ‘toxic emissions’ through a camera and stated that the air was being ‘poisoned’ by oil and gas development,” he continued. “In reality, the operations she was viewing have been lauded as among the best anywhere in the United States for their management practices and facility designs that protect air quality, public health and the environment.”
Cain added: “Using an infrared camera, the Congresswoman claimed to see ‘invisible emissions,’ when she was actually witnessing a heat signature caused by high-temperature (200-plus degrees) synthetic drilling mud being circulated to the surface against cooler fall temperatures in Broomfield.”
And, “In fact, the camera angle used in the video viewed an area of our site that does not even include a possible source for the types of emissions being claimed.”
Adding insult to injury, the Daily Caller also reports:
The rig is actually electric, which plugs into the grid, and is able to operate almost silently. Around the clock air monitoring is conducted in Broomfield, and all air results are consistently “well below any levels of concern,” according to Cain.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) confirmed that no hydraulic fracturing was taking place in Ocasio-Cortez’s video. Fracking, it added, does not take place until after the hole is drilled and rig work is finished. A spokesman for the association also noted that there can be confusion regarding infrared imaging.
According to the report, Mary Throne, a Wyoming Democratic public service commissioner, was among one of the first people to debunk the video.
In her brief response, she said Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez do themselves no favors in pushing propaganda while ignoring “science and facts.”
“Interesting video, but [Ocasio-Cortez] there is no fracking occurring at the site as shown and no way to determine compliance or lack thereof with CO air standards. As Dems, we do ourselves no favors when we ignore science and facts. Happy to discuss energy and the West any time,” Throne said.
Interesting video, but @AOC there is no fracking occurring at the site as shown and no way to determine compliance or lack thereof with CO air standards. As Dems, we do ourselves no favors when we ignore science and facts. Happy to discuss energy and the West any time. https://t.co/zI2WBXeGM2
— Mary A. Throne (@wymatters) September 22, 2019
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.