Image courtesy of greensefa/Flickr.

The state of Pennsylvania agreed to pay an anti-fracking group $40,000 earlier this month after improperly characterizing the group as a potential terrorist threat.

The settlement, reached on January 15, calls for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to pay $40,000 to Pennsylvania-based Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, the AP said.

According to the coalition’s lawsuit, bulletins published by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency made unsubstantiated claims that the group poses a potential terrorist threat to the state’s infrastructure.

The reports were produced by a private contractor, the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, under a one year $103,000 contract.

The bulletins were issued several times a week and distributed to hundreds of people, primarily law enforcement and security industry professionals.

Pennsylvania state police said the bulletins included information that had been taken out of context as well as biased analysis.

State police officials said the group does not pose a threat to public safety.

Pennsylvania-based Institute of Terrorism Research and Response and its co-director, Mike Perelman, were dismissed as defendants in the lawsuit.

The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition is currently appealing that decision.

Under the settlement the state did not have to admit liability but it did agree to destroy all copies of the bulletins that characterized the group as a terrorist threat.

In return, the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition has agreed to not make any disparaging remarks about the agency.


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