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Issue No. 6 - April 15, 2013

1. "Frackademia": Fracking Industry + Academia = Questionable Science

Aberdeen Partners
In May 2012, the Irish EPA published a preliminary study on the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing, which it had commissioned from the University of Aberdeen. At the time, RTE reported on the study findings as follows: “Preliminary research concludes that the available information suggests there is a low and probably manageable risk to ground water from fracking.”
However, one of the studies that was cited as an important source in the University of Aberdeen study has now been discredited. As this Public Accountability Initiative report reveals, the director of the study in question, which made headlines for its conclusions that fracking does not contaminate groundwater, failed to declare that he is also the director of a company engaged in fracking. The University of Texas at Austin has now withdrawn the study.

In addition to the University of Texas, other institutions whose research related to fracking has been discredited due to industry ties include: the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, which was forced to close its Shale Resources and Society Institute, MIT, and the University of Southern California (USC).

2. Not a lot of fracking jobs after all...


A new report (March 2013) published by Cleveland State University, reveals that fracking has not created many jobs in northeastern Ohio. Between 2011 and 2012, when extensive fracking occurred in that part of the state, jobs growth was found to be only 0.1% higher than in other parts of the state where fracking did not occur. This article discusses the study and the impact of fracking generally in Ohio.

Another study (2010) examines the possible economic impacts, positive and negative, of gas drilling in New York State. It examines the actual economic impacts of existing conventional gas drilling in New York state, and notes that oil and gas extraction in the state's top ten "gas counties" is only responsible for 0.03% of all non-farm employment, and only 0.04% of all non-farm payroll amounts. The report reveals similar figures for the neighbouring state of Pennsylvania. It contrasts the limited potential economic benefits of gas drilling with the "devastating" effect drilling would have on existing industries such as agriculture and tourism, which have been found to have higher economic multipliers.

3. Fracking contamination case settled for $750,000

The Glas is Half Clean
The Hallowich family, of Washington county, Pennsylvania, sued three shale gas drilling companies operating near their home after the children in the family became ill. The family has since moved from their home. Their case against the drilling companies was settled for $750,000, and the conditions of the settlement included a gag order on both parties.

Following a legal challenge brought by two newspapers and supported by a number of organisations of physicians, scientists, and environmentalists calling for greater transparency about shale gas exploitation practices, a judge last month unsealed the case documents.

The 971 case documents are now available online.

The important judicial implications of this decision, which rejected claims that corporations have the same natural rights as people, including the right to privacy, are discussed in this article.

Breaking News: First UK fracking leak as Dart Energy wells fail in Scotland

14 April 2013 - The Scottish Herald today reported the UK’s first fracking leak – at Coal Bed Methane (CBM) wells near Canonbie in Scotland. The leak – at wells owned by Dart Energy – confirm anecdotal evidence from locals who have – over the last two years – periodically noticed gas in their water supply...

Issue No. 5     April 1, 2013

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