This article originally provided by Chronicle Of Higher Education

June 14, 2010

Critics Challenge University Research in Pa. Debate Over Natural-Gas Drilling

Two organizations in Pennsylvania are questioning the findings of a report by researchers associated with Pennsylvania State University regarding the economic benefits of drilling in the Marcellus Shale, a large natural-gas deposit that lies under two-thirds of the state, the Associated Press reported. A natural-gas industry group supported the study.

The report, "The Economic Impacts of the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Play: An Update," acknowledges that the industry group paid for the study and states that the opinions and conclusions in the report "are those of the authors and not necessarily those" of the university or the industry group. But skeptics contend that the researchers' projections are too rosy and that, with the weight of the university's name and logo behind it, the report is skewing the debate.

One of the report's authors, Timothy J. Considine, said it was not unusual for industry groups to sponsor such studies and defended the report's validity. "The methods we use are standard" and "our analysis can stand up to any sort of scrutiny," he told the news service. Mr. Considine, who is now a professor at the University of Wyoming, was on the faculty at Penn State from 1986 to 2008.



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