The Swift Debunking of Marita Noon (This Time, It’s Coming From INSIDE The Paper)

February 18th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

By Tracy Dingmann

We at Journal Watch saw the ridiculous claims of oil and gas shill Marita Noon on one of her Facebook pages in the wake of the natural gas outages in New Mexico.

According to Noon, it was Texas’s heavy reliance on wind power – not the obvious and catastrophic failure of Texas’ natural gas and coal plants – that likely caused the natural gas emergency in New Mexico!

But it was (sort of) easy to ignore her claim, since it only appeared on the Facebook page of Noon’s organization, the oil and gas industry-funded “Energy Makes America Great” – an “advocacy arm” of the larger group Citizen’s Alliance for Responsible Energy, of which she is executive director.

I had a late-night chuckle, then moved on.

Then I read today’s Albuquerque Journal, where Noon’s claims made the editorial page in a well-placed guest opinion column called “Renewables Expensive, Not Always Dependable.”

We at Journal Watch have written many, many times about Noon’s flawed arguments and dubious statement of facts as they have appeared in the Journal and other publications – several of which have pulled her columns and refused to run anything by her again. None of our discrediting ever did any good.

But this time, the debunking came from within the Journal itself – and it came fast.

The paper’s respected science writer, John Fleck, tackled Noon’s main claim on his blog for the paper’s online edition. His posting, which went up around mid-morning, said Noon’s claim ran counter to everything he had learned about the shortage.

(While New Mexico was still in the midst of the crisis, Fleck produced a highly-praised, hour-by-hour account for the Journal of the causes of and decisions behind New Mexico’s scary gas cutoff.  Read “Fear of System Failure Forced Brutal Choices.” )

Here’s how Fleck started this morning’s blog post, which he called “Politics, Energy Policy and the Gas Shortage:”

It’s been fascinating to watch the way people’s political views on energy policy have influenced reactions to the early February natural gas outage in New Mexico.

A case in point is Marita Noon of Energy Makes America Great Inc., on today’s Albuquerque Journal op-ed page.

Fleck  goes on to say about Noon:

But contrary to what she wrote on my newspaper’s op-ed page, the people who run the Texas grid said exactly the opposite – that wind was a reliable source of electricity during the outage.

In fact, the list they released earlier this week of power plants that shut down shows that the reliability problem early this month happened when natural gas and coal plants went off line. A lot of them. To the extent that power plant reliability is an issue, it seems that in this case the discussion ought to properly be focussed on gas and coal, not wind.

One wonders why Noon chose not to go there.

Ouch. Fleck goes on to recount how he tracked Noon down and asked her to explain where she got her information.

I asked Noon for the source of her assertions. She referred me to the Facebook page version of the op-ed, which includes a link to this report from Texas radio station. That also was the only thing I could find, searching on my own, that argued wind had not been a reliable source of electricity during the outage

I found lots of official, documented information to the contrary, which Noon chose to ignore.

So. Will this thorough debunking by the Journal’s own science reporter FINALLY put an end to Marita Noon’s embarrassingly fact-free hold on the Journal’s editorial page?

We can only hope.

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Denise Tessier

    As Tracy points out, Noon’s column “was well-placed” — it appeared at the top of the Op-Ed page with an illustration and the aforementioned headline critical of renewables. Today’s Journal should have run a correction or, at the least, a boxed guide to Fleck’s online blog. However, it did not, and as a result of this omission many readers, unaware of the less visible blog by Fleck, remain misinformed.

  • Reggie

    You have to love the word “may” in Noon’s column:
    Texas’ heavy reliance on wind power may have been part of the cause.

    It’s very Glen Beck’ian of her. Not owning up to any of the information, just repeating someone else’s wacky statement and saying it “may” be true.

  • Stan Wagner

    I just got this article from a family member in Albuquerque, and I Googled the author of the Op-Ed piece. Lo and behold, you are my new favorite website to help debunk some of the Alb Journal stories. :)

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