When does a study on the unconventional shale gas industry become a “shill gas study”? The quick answer: when nearly everyone writing and peer reviewing it has close ties to the industry they're purportedly doing an “objective” study on.
The newest kid on the block: a recent study published by SUNY Buffalo's Shale Resources and Society Institute, titled, ”Environmental Impacts During Shale Gas Drilling: Causes, Impacts and Remedies.”
The four co-authors of the “study” all have backgrounds, directly or indirectly, in the oil and gas industry:
Timothy Considine and Robert Watson: A professor emeritus at University of Wyoming and a professor at Pennsylvania State University respectively, Considine and Watson co-authored a Marcellus Shale Coalition “jobs” study often cited by the industry and mainstream press titled, “The Economic Impacts of the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Play,” published in May 2010. The Marcellus Shale Coalition is a gas industry lobbying group representing nearly all of the corporations fracking for gas in the Marcellus. That “jobs” data was used in a July 2011 New York fracking jobs “study” shown to be farcical by Food and Water Watch in a November 2011 report, as covered by DeSmogBlog.
Nicholas Considine: Head of the University of Wyoming's Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy. He co-authored, along with his brother Timothy and Robert Watson, a Manhattan Institute-commissioned paper published in June 2011 titled, “The Economic Opportunities of Shale Energy Development.” The Institute is heavily funded by the oil and gas industry.
- John Martin: Martin is a Consultant at JPMartin Energy Strategy LLC. According to his biography appearing on the JPMartin website, he has spent decades working in various sectors of the oil and gas industry, during which he also was responsible for overseeing the research and writing of the first examination of “the natural gas potential of New York's Utica Shale that helped stimulate significant industry investment in this resource.” Martin also serves as co-director of the recently created SUNY Buffalo's Shale Resources and Society Institute, which published this “study.”