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Report: Industry drills for fracking-friendly studies

An Associated Press article posted earlier Monday on our website reported how opponents of fracking — the controversial method of extracting natural gas from rock deep beneath the ground — apply shaky science to back their stand.

Meanwhile, another news report says the natural gas industry has been backing university scientific studies that reach conclusions favorable to continued fracking — though the studies’ connection to the industry isn’t at all apparent.

“Producers are taking a page from the tobacco industry playbook: funding research at established universities that arrives at conclusions that counter concerns raised by critics,” a Bloomberg article states.

As examples, the Bloomberg piece cites the following:

*An economic study from Penn State that favored the continuation of Pennsylvania’s policy of not taxing gas drillers. “What the study didn’t do was note that it was sponsored by gas drillers and led by an economist … with a history of producing industry-friendly research on economic and energy issues.”

*A University of Texas study that said fracking did not contaminate ground water. The professor who led the study is on the board of a gas-drilling company and received $400,000 in compensation from the company last year.

*A study from the State University of New York at Buffalo, partially authored by the same economist from the Penn State study, that “did not acknowledge ‘extensive ties’ by its authors to the gas industry, according to a watchdog group.”