The University of Texas has now joined the University at Buffalo in sending a strong message to the oil and gas industry: our universities are not for sale. This is another major blow to gas industry pseudoscience and a victory for academic integrity in the debate around fracking.The University of Texas deserves credit for taking a difficult but important stand for transparency and integrity by releasing this review and pursuing these recommendations.
- December (49)
- November (133)
- October (132)
- September (95)
- August (78)
- July (74)
- June (56)
- May (62)
- April (105)
- March (99)
- February (137)
- January (165)
- A. Siegel: Stunning Think Progress Climate Silence...
- Shell rig Kulluk adrift then reconnected to tugs A...
- Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012 really was impressive...
- Shell's Kullik rig evacuated, another storm coming...
- Dark Snow Project crowd-source funding for Greenla...
- Aivik loses tow line to Shell's Kulluk rig, rig ev...
- Coast Guard evacuaties Shell's Kulluk drilling rig...
- Hansen & Sato: Update of Greenland Ice Sheet Mass ...
- Gyms which double as hurricane shelters are being ...
- Top Climate Stories of 2012
- Texas Keystone XL protesters still there!!!! Plea...
- RJ Sigmund: Got gas? Bakken oil wells flaring nat...
- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, American climate hero, sp...
- FBI calls peaceful OWS protesters "domestic terror...
- James Hansen: Storms of My Grandchildren's Opa
- Climate Change and Intergenerational Evil (James H...
- Seth Borenstein: Extreme forecast dead-on in 2012...
- Error-Riddled WSJ Matt Ridley Piece Lowballs Clima...
- Michael Schlesinger: WSJ Wrong About Future Globa...
- WSJ's Climate "Dynamite" Is A Dud
- Professor Michael Mann is suing the National Revie...
- 2013 Arctic sea ice volume expected to decrease to...
- Join Many Others and Add Climate Scientists to You...
- Why Climate Change Denial Is Just Hot Air: only 24...
- Car-mounted sensor able to detect methane leaks
- Deutsche Bank Says Co-CEO Fitschen Subject of carb...
- Why Earth and atmospheric scientists are swearing ...
- UNEP report urges IPCC to address permafrost CO2 a...
- BBC: Ground-level ozone levels remain high in Euro...
- Graham Readfearn: Life At Four Degrees
- James Hansen calls cap-and-trade a half-baked, hal...
- The real debate on climate happened in San Francis...
- John Cook: Climate Skeptics Swayed by Consensus, N...
- Eight examples of where the IPCC has missed the ma...
- Accelerated Warming Driving Arctic Into New Volati...
- Rising Sea Level May Trigger Groundwater Floods
- ESA: Clearest evidence yet of polar ice losses
- UT-Austin Administration Distances Itself from "Fr...
- Jason Box: Tundra fire soot darkening Greenland, ...
- NOAA: warmest first 11 months ever recorded for co...
- Joe Romm links ice-free Arctic, extreme weather an...
- David Spratt: Scientists call for war on climate ...
- To Obama: Find the courage to take responsibility....
- Morality of fossil fuel divestment campaign strike...
- Shell's Arctic Oil Spill Gear "Crushed Like a Beer...
- Tim DeChristopher: Feds prohibit social justice wo...
- Justin Gillis, NYT: Students for Divestment from F...
- Shell's Arctic Oil-Spill Gear Is "Crushed Like A B...
- UI researcher predicts more intense North Atlantic...
- Brad Johnson speaks truth to Valerie Jarrett at Ro...
- Larry Hagman, solar energy booster
- November (40)
- October (47)
- September (103)
- August (107)
- July (92)
- June (77)
- May (80)
- April (99)
- March (131)
- February (108)
- January (105)
- December (51)
- December (97)
- November (117)
- October (142)
- September (93)
- August (183)
- July (194)
- June (240)
- May (132)
- April (158)
- March (172)
- February (301)
- January (260)
- December (176)
- November (117)
- October (109)
- September (154)
- August (135)
- July (153)
- June (104)
- May (68)
- April (72)
- March (66)
- February (94)
- January (70)
- December (277)
- November (127)
- October (94)
- September (99)
- August (59)
- July (121)
- June (67)
- May (44)
- April (72)
- March (91)
- February (150)
- January (125)
- December (57)
- November (16)
- October (79)
- September (36)
- August (71)
- July (62)
- June (33)
- May (40)
- April (51)
- March (39)
- February (13)
- January (13)
Sunday, December 9, 2012
UT-Austin Administration Distances Itself from "Frackademia" Study
by Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog, December 6, 2012
Weeks after SUNY Buffalo's upper-level administration gave the Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI) the boot due to its gas industry public relations effort masked as a "study," University of Texas-Austin's (UT-Austin) administration has somewhat followed suit for its own "frackademia" study.
The decision comes in the aftermath of an independent review of a controversial study completed under UT-Austin's auspices.
Like SRSI's "shill gas study," UT-Austin brought itself attention when it published a "study" in February 2012 titled, "Separating Fact From Fiction in Shale Gas Development." UT-Austin's study -- conducted under the wings of its Energy Institute -- claimed that there's "no scientific proof" that unconventional oil and gas developement can be linked to groundwater contamination.
As it turns out, the author's lead investigator, Charles "Chip" Groat is on the payroll of the oil and gas industry via Plains Exploration & Production, a direct conflict-of-interest under the standards of academia (not to be confused with those of "frackademia"). "Groat earned more than double his University of Texas salary as a PXP board member in 2011 – $413,900 as opposed to $173,273 – and he has amassed over $1.6 million in stock during his tenure there," Public Accountability Institute (PAI) explained in a report.
The embarrassment created by these revelations moved Groat to retire after the spring semester, while the head of the Energy Institute, Raymond Orbach, stepped down today as head of the Institute, though he'll still remain on the UT-Austin faculty.
UT-Austin's administration, in effect, has decided to distance itself from the report due to its numerous conflicts-of-interest, though unlike the SRSI, the Energy Institute won't be ended.
"The school said it will undertake six recommended actions, the most significant being the withdrawal of papers from the Energy Institute’s Web site related to the report until they are submitted for fresh expert review," explained The New York Times.
Kevin Connor, Director of PAI, issued this statement in response to UT-Austin's decision:
This announcement comes soon after University of Michigan-Ann Arbor stated it would be conducting its own forthcoming two-year study on the ecological impacts of fracking in Michigan.
"Industry representatives, nongovernmental organizations, state government officials, academic experts and other stakeholders are providing input," explained University of Michigan in a press release.
Members of the study's Steering Committee include two representatives of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association and members of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's cabinet, along with several university-affiliated faculty members.
A Dec. 3 story by Energy and Environment News explained that Energy in Depth, the shale gas industry front group, will also be deeply involved with the study.
"Some of those stakeholders are being pulled in as resources for the UM study, said Energy in Depth Field Director Erik Bauss, whom UM researchers have already called on to help facilitate a visit to a Michigan frack site," wrote E and E.
Given the recent state of play for "frackademics," DeSmog will be keeping a close eye on the Michigan study in the weeks and months ahead. Stay tuned.