Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Research university hides results of fracking study which fails to prove it’s dangerous. How to create "settled" science.

Research university hides results of fracking study which fails to prove it’s dangerous


What happens when a university research department is tasked with conducting a study of the harmful effects of fracking on ground water and other environmental concerns? Well, that depends on who provides their research money and what the results turn out to be. In the case of the University of Cincinnati, a lot of their funding comes from groups which have a vested interest in proving how harmful fracking is so it’s hardly a surprise that they lost interest in the study when it failed to produce any evidence of ground water contamination near commercial fracking sites.
Jeff Stier, senior fellow and head of the Risk Analysis Division at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington provides a detailed report at Newsweek.
Geologists at the University of Cincinnati just wrapped up a three-year investigation of hydraulic fracturing and its impact on local water supplies.
Why would a public research university boasting a top-100 geology program deliberately hide its work? Because, as lead researcher Amy Townsend-Small explained, “our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results. They feel that fracking is scary and so they were hoping our data could point to a reason to ban it.”
The funding groups were a little disappointed in the results. How terrible for them. We do so hate to see anyone go away disappointed. But to have this research basically squashed with no public release after three years of investigative work is unforgivable. I wonder if it also added to their disappointment to discover that the oil and gas industry was providing more than 2 million jobs in the United States and is projected to increase that number to 5 million by 2025.
None of this will be “news” to anyone who has been following developments in the industry. This evidence has been stacking up for a while now, as we saw in previous studies conducted in both Texas and Ohio which were originally going to prove how terrible and toxic fracking is. 
A review of the available research bears out both claims. Consider the Ground Water Protection Council’s recent study on gas exploration in Ohio, from 1983 until 2007, and in Texas, from 1993 until 2008.
According to that report, neither officials in Texas nor those in Ohio “identified a single groundwater contamination incident…at any of these horizontal shale gas wells” during those periods.
Hillary Clinton is making her bones during the primary telling voters that she’ll be working to curtail fracking. In a previous debate against Sanders she blasting the technology to the point where her team expressed concerns that it could cost her votes in New York. She wound up winning the primary, but it’s yet another example of an issue where Sanders had dragged her so far to the left that she’s providing endless fodder for her Republican opponent come November. And when we get to that stage of the race, it’s not New York she has to worry about, but places like Pennsylvania and Ohio where the oil and gas industry kept many communities afloat while the rest of the nation languished.
Good luck with that, Madam Secretary. Perhaps you’d better take a look at this “secret” study before your next energy policy speech.

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