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A Victory for Academic Honesty in Fracking Research

On Monday, University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi announced the immediate close of the University’s Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI), citing the lack of faculty with expertise in fields associated with energy production from shale and its lack of credibility due to its financing sources.  Students, professors, University trustees, and over 10,000 members of the public had petitioned the University to close SRSI after it published a widely criticized study in April 2012, which was heavily biased in favor of the oil and gas industry.   The authors of the April study disingenuously manipulated their data in an attempt to show that fracking can be done safely, falsely claimed their research had been peer reviewed, and broke University rules by failing to disclose funding sources.

Timothy Considine, the lead author of the April 2012 report, has received similar criticism for his past work, which has presented fracking research in misleading ways and has failed to disclose his funding sources.  He has previously received funds from the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Wyoming Mining Association, the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the American Petroleum Institute.

The University of Texas at Austin is conducting a similar review of a fracking study released earlier this year, as one of the authors failed to disclose his position on the board of a gas company.

Riverkeeper applauds Dr. Tripathi’s commitment to “rigorous standards of academic integrity, intellectual honesty, transparency and the highest ethical conduct,” and we hope he will continue to exercise strong leadership to take the appropriate actions necessary to ensure an objective and broad study of fracking in the future.

For more information, check out Mireya Navarro’s New York Times article.


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