A few weeks ago the new natural gas institute at SUNY University at Buffalo (UB) released a 52-page study that found environmental problems caused by Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania were isolated, mostly minor and on the decline (see this MDN story for a copy of the study). The high priests of the enviro-left could not let a study favorable to the drilling industry stand, so a fast and furious mud-slinging contest began to see if they could besmirch, ridicule, criticize and otherwise try to blunt the effect of such a study. Their concerted (and coordinated?) campaign is having an effect.
The University at Buffalo is now distancing itself from the study, even though the study was rigorous and academically sound. Such are the vagaries (and lack of intestinal fortitude) in academe.
First came a coordinated attack against the study’s press release that claimed it was “peer reviewed.” The study’s authors subjected the study to review by outside experts and called that process peer reviewed. But like a game of Simon Says, if you don’t follow a specific procedure for your peer review process, essentially running it by liberal academic journals that no one reads, you can’t label it as peer reviewed. So that first bit of mud started to stick and the authors of the study had to “take back” their peer reviewed comment.
Then came the charge that the gas industry funded the study. It didn’t, but who cares about facts when allegations will do the trick? Since one of the authors had previously done research on the industry dime, that means anything he does forever more is tainted and suspect, according to the enviro-left. More mud sticks.
Last week the extremely partisan left-wing non-profit group Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) provided a point by point criticism of the study (see here). Their aim? Get UB to back away from its own shale institute. Unfortunately, the PAI and their co-conspirators are winning.
Faced with mounting criticism, the State University of New York at Buffalo is distancing itself from a Marcellus Shale gas-drilling study released earlier this month by the school’s own Shale Resources and Society Institute.
But the report’s lead author is defending the work by the fledgling institute, saying Monday that it’s being mischaracterized by environmental activists who oppose any additional domestic fossil-fuel production.
“I stand by the work,” said Timothy Considine, University of Wyoming professor and one of three researchers who penned the institute’s survey, adding that he and his colleagues aren’t at all surprised by the green backlash it has generated.
“This whole debate [about fracking] has been so polarized,” he said.
Read more about how the PAI and others have twisted the study’s findings by clicking the link below.
*The Washington Times (May 28, 2012) – Shale study’s lead author faces ‘green’ backlash