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.”