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04/18/2011 12:37 pm ET | Updated Jun 18, 2011

Hydrofracking Pushed By Agents Instructed To Mislead Landowners: Report

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04/18/2011 11:29 AM EDT

Oil Company Appears To Instruct Salesmen How To Mislead Landowners

An oil company distributed what appear to be "talking points" to its salesmen, instructing them to mislead landowners about the dangers of oil and gas drilling, according to a document obtained by environmental news website TreeHugger and several other blogs.

Entitled "Talking Points for Selling Oil and Gas Lease Rights", the document implores its 'Field Agents' to "mislead people about the risks of drilling, to omit important facts, and even, on occasion, to outright lie," writes TreeHugger's Brian Merchant. He cautions that TreeHugger has neither confirmed the authenticity of the document nor determined which oil company it belongs to.

Here's a sample from the purported talking points:

Tell the landowner that all their neighbors have signed. Even if the neighbors have not, this often will push an undecided landowner in favor of signing. Remember, the first visit is the most crucial. They will not know if their neighbors have signed, and even if they do they will want to sign so they do not lose out on the potential profits. Once they have signed, then you can show those leases to undecided neighbors for added pressure.

Other parts of the document instruct field agents to steer away from any discussion of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial technique used to extract natural gas, and to confuse landowners about the difference between two different forms of the process.

In another section, field agents are instructed to avoid letting landowners know that many well heads may have to be drilled on their land.

The overall plan is to drill exploratory wells, and then use more advanced techniques to get at the small oil pockets we find. This will require multiple well heads, where we pump in high volume of water and chemicals, much the same manner as in the fracing process. DO NOT DISCUSS this point. We want no correlation between fracing and enhanced oil recovery processes. We do not want landowners aware char we may have to drill many well heads in a single area. After we have the leases signed we have the freedom to use the land as we see fit. If needed we can even write leases with "No Fracing" posirions, and even with these lease modifications we can legally drill multiple wells and inserr high pressure "extractants".

The Huffington Post was not able to confirm the authenticity of this document either.

04/18/2011 10:43 AM EDT

The Wake-Up Call: Fracking, Lehman, BP, Wall St Revolving Door

• In case you missed it over the weekend, here's the Congressional report detailing how top natural gas drilling service companies used hydraulic fracturing fluids, which contain 29 different chemicals regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) because they are potential human carcinogens.

• The FDIC describes how it could have prevented the implosion of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 if it had been armed with the orderly liquidation authority established by Dodd-Frank.

• A year after the BP oil spill, the fate of the ecosystem in the Gulf remains murky. "A massive environmental-crime investigation spearheaded by federal and gulf state officials is underway to tally the harm and has logged tens of thousands of samples from the gulf’s waters, seafloor, marshlands, beaches and wildlife," reports The Washington Post.

• Ex-SEC official Gary Lynch bounces from Morgan Stanley to Bank of America, where he will lead its legal, compliance, and regulatory relations efforts.

• The army of lobbyists trying to derail new rules governing the price banks and credit unions charge retail businesses when customers use debit cards includes 118 former government officials, reports Sunlight Foundation's Paul Blumenthal.

• The EPA finds that Utah's plan for attaining national ambient air quality standards is "inadequate" and needs to be revised. If the state doesn't make the necessary adjustments, it could face highway funding restrictions.

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