"When Agendas Meet Science in the Gas Drilling Fight"

For years, controversy has been raging over what little 'science' there is on questions related to the environmental and health impacts of the hydraulic fracturing boom. The scientific controversies may be a proxy for the conflict over the gas-extraction method itself. Billions of dollars are at stake, the debate is getting ever more intense, and its intensity challenges the objectivity of scientists, government regulators, and journalists.

"It’s time to dig in a bit on how transparency and peer review matter in considering the merits of the science deployed by both the 'ban' and 'bonanza' factions in the war over expanding hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a means of harvesting America’s natural gas bounty.

I’ll be posting Tuesday on peer review, or the lack thereof, in research related to environmental and health impacts of  gas drilling. The piece will focus on a new and as-yet-unpublished (but much publicized) study of fetal risks related to gas drilling by Elaine L. Hill, a doctoral candidate in Cornell University’s department of applied economics and management.

But first, let’s look at the importance of transparency when conveying out findings on contentious and consequential issues like the environmental impacts of America’s gas rush.

The University of Texas Energy Institute used a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science last February to roll out what it called an authoritative report separating the 'real and perceived consequences of shale gas development.'"

Andrew C. Revkin reports in his Dot Earth blog, via the New York Times, July 23, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"Frackers Fund University Research That Proves Their Case" (Bloomberg)

"Fracking Company Paid Texas Professor Behind Water Contamination Study" (StateImpact/NPR)

"The Whole Fracking Debate Is Based On Bad Science" (Business Insider)

"Report: Claims Drilling Led To Health Problems Based on Inaccurate Science"(E2 Wire/The Hill)

"Experts: Some Fracking Critics Use Bad Science" (AP)

"Doctors, Scientists Say Fracking Critics Misrepresent Some Facts To Make Their Point" (AP)

"Fracking Research and the Money That Flows To It" (Green/NYT)

"Link Between Low Birth Weight and Fracking, Says New Research" (Epoch Times)

"Fracking Study Might Need More Study, Geologist Says" (Buffalo Business First)

"State To Study Air Near Marcellus Sites In Washington County" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Editorial: "Hubbard: Stick To the Facts on Fracking" (Denver Post)

"Fracking Company Paid Texas Professor Behind Water Contamination Study" (StateImpact/NPR)

"UB Responds To Criticism Over 'Fracking' Study" (Buffalo News)

"University of Buffalo Backpedals On Fracking Study" (Albany Watch)

"The UB Shale Play: Distorting the Facts about Fracking" (Public Accountability Initiative)

"Fracking Safety Improves Dramatically, Says Independent Study" (Forbes)

"Fracking Critics Exposed as Science Dunces" (Dallas Blog)

"Fracking Open" (Inside Higher Ed)

"Fracking – Bad Science Debate Looms" (redOrbit)

"University of Buffalo Subjected to Anti-Fracking Ire After Study Finding Fracking Can Be Done Safely" (Lonely Conservative)

"Debate Is Often Long on Emotion, Short on Facts" (Akron Beacon Journal)

"Marcellus Shale Study Called ‘Good News, Bad News’" (Philadellphia Inquirer)

"Pennsylvania Fracking Can Put Water at Risk: Study" (Bloomberg)

"Fracking Did Not Sully Aquifers, Limited Study Finds" (Green/NYT)

"New Duke Research Shows No Fracking Contamination in PA" (AP)

"New Research Rebuts Fracking-Global Warming Connection" (Bloomberg)

"Estimates Of Gas Yield From Fracking Differ" (Newsday $$)

"More Air Pollution From Chesapeake Drilling Sites" (Wheeling News-Register)

"Smeared But Still Fighting, Cornell's Tony Ingraffea Debunks Gas Industry Myths" (DeSmogBlog)

"Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Ingraffea, Robert Howarth" (TIME 12/14/11)

"Research On Methane Emissions From Natural Gas Discredited By Scientific Community" (American Natural Gas Assn.)

Source: Dot Earth, 07/24/2012