SUNY Spokesperson Tells Journalist What to Write
by Buck Quigley - posted 5:12 pm, March 30, 2012
Yesterday, I published this blog post about SUNY signing a $22 million contract to buy hydrofracked natural gas for five of its campuses. It was interesting that the VP of EnergyMark—the vendor who got the lucrative contract—stressed that SUNY didn’t want the company’s press release to mention anything about fracking “because of the political nature” of the controversial drilling technique.
After numerous phone calls, SUNY spokesperson David Belsky finally replied via email:
The word “hydrofracking” – who said it, and who didn’t – is irrelevant to what this story should be about. The EnergyMark contract was achieved by five SUNY campuses working together to reduce costs. In fact, it’s one component of a larger, collaborative energy buying program that SUNY uses to bring all kinds of energy sources to campuses, saving our system approximately $1.5 million a year.
I disagree. I think the story is about how purposefully misleading SUNY is to the taxpayers of New York State. Do all New Yorkers agree that fracking is a good idea? No. That’s why SUNY didn’t want it known that they had signed a $22 million contract to buy natural gas produced this way.
SUNY is neck-deep in the drive to frack. UB has hosted seminars advocating the practice. Note that state geologist Langhorne B. “Taury” Smith Jr. was scratched from the speakers list because the State Education Department had barred him from talking publicly about fracking after he created controversy with his pro-fracking remarks. Consider the SUNY Fredonia Shale Research Institute, supported by several fossil fuel companies. Sources tell me UB is planning a big, team-taught course on the shale phenomenon this fall. Here’s the head of EnergyMark speaking at the last one:
SUNY greenwashes its image with this list of renewable energy accomplishments. Why not include this new deal to buy fracked natural gas and pipe it in to five campuses?
Here’s my message to you, David Belsky: You are out of line telling me what this story should be about. You’ve been a mouthpiece for SUNY administration ever since your days campaigning to be Trustee and President of the Student Association:
You are the paid spokesperson for the State University of New York, yet you don’t return phone calls from reporters. You are a brown-noser who thinks it’s cute to spout platitudes like “Hakuna matata,” as you did in this commencement speech at SUNY Binghamton in 2008.
The issue of fracking is of great concern to many New Yorkers, and SUNY has been caught downplaying its support of the practice. The most you can offer in defense is a lame, three sentence reply in an attempt to change the subject.
Have a nice weekend, sir. And don’t tell me what my stories “should be about.”