Some University Fracking Studies Funded by Industry Groups, Report Says


Several university-led studies that have downplayed concerns about the controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing have been funded in part by drilling companies themselves, Bloomberg News reports.

Bloomberg cited, for example, a 2009 report published by Pennsylvania State University predicting that drilling companies would shun projects in that state if required to pay a 5 percent tax on drilling revenues. But researchers did not disclose that their study had been funded in part by a $100,000 grant from a drilling industry group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

A University of Texas researcher who found no evidence of groundwater contamination from fracking received more than $400,000 from a Texas fracking company, Bloomberg said. And a study from the State University of New York at Buffalo concluding that regulations have helped curb the environmental impacts of fracking did not acknowledge extensive industry ties.

“It’s a growing problem across academia,” Mark Partridge, a professor of rural-urban policy at the Ohio State University, told Bloomberg. “Universities are so short of money, professors are under a lot of pressure to raise research funding in any manner possible.”

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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