To arrive at that conclusion, scientists say, the report tallied data from the Environmental Protection Agency that the agency itself states does not represent overall emissions: The numbers, which are reported by the energy industry about a limited number of compressor stations and other facilities, do not include emissions from the area’s thousands of wells. The data are “too low by at least a factor of two, and quite likely more,” said Robert W. Howarth, a professor at Cornell University who has researched methane emissions.
FTI stood by the report, calling its findings “on track with broader trends in Texas’ oil fields.”
Texans for Natural Gas is just one campaign run with the help of FTI employees. Others include: Citizens to Protect PA Jobs, New Mexicans for Economic Prosperity, the Liberty Energy Project and the Arctic Energy Center, according to interviews, internal documents and an examination of the digital trail of domain-name registrations and other details left by the creation of the websites.
Another such organization, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, said of FTI in a statement: “We are proud to have them as a contract partner, especially when it comes to direct and transparent media support.”
‘Susan,’ the fake Facebook user
Within FTI, a group called StratCom, short for Strategic Communications, focuses on industry messaging campaigns. In the United States, the group is led by Brian Kennedy, former press secretary for the office of the House minority leader and a former spokesman for Transocean, the drilling contractor involved in the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The StratCom group studied environmental protesters on behalf of the driller Apache Energy. Apache was seeking to drill near Balmorhea State Park in Texas and was concerned that protesters were planning camps similar to those set up to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to two people with direct knowledge of the work.
One FTI document prepared for Apache, dated Jan. 25, 2017, included a link to a list of groceries and camp supplies compiled by organizers, which the document said provided a hint of the proposed camp’s size.