Let's See the University of Cincinnati's Hydraulic Fracturing Research
|A drilling rig sits on a natural gas pad in Pennsylvania.|
Photo credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via U.S. Chamber
New information has surfaced on how its research was funded. Based on this, the university is obligated to do more to publicize the study’s findings.
For those getting up to speed on the story, Energy In Depth posted a short clip [full video] from the University of Cincinnati’s Dr. Amy Townsend-Small’s presentation to local Ohio hydraulic fracturing opponents along with some key findings about hydraulic fracturing’s safety:
- “All the samples fell within the clean water range and they did not find any changes over time either in any of our homes during the time series of fracking.”
- “We never saw a significant increase in methane concentration after fracking well was drilled.”
- Samples that were collected that were high in methane “clearly did not have a natural gas source.”
- “Some of our highest observed methane concentrations were not near a fracking well at all.”
- “There was no significant change in methane concentration over time, even as more and more natural gas wells were drilled in the area.”
“I’m really sad to say this but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” Townsend-Small told the audience. “They feel that fracking is scary and so they were hoping our data could point to a reason to ban it.”
No press releases, no research papers, and no data released for the public or other researchers to dig deeper.
That’s not just disappointing; it looks to be in violation of the grant the University of Cincinnati used to fund its research.
The premise of the research project was to see what effects hydraulic fracturing has on drinking water by testing wells before, during, and after fracturing took place.
Here’s how the Ohio Environmental Council (no fans of hydraulic fracturing) described the project that earned one of its Environmental Achievement Awards in 2014:
The NSF grant’s mandate states unequivocally that findings gleaned from using the instrument be made publically available:
Results from research projects using this instrumentation will be disseminated through student and faculty presentations at national and international scientific meetings, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and online data repositories.The University of Cincinnati should hold up its end and add to the public’s knowledge of hydraulic fracturing’s safety. With so much misinformation being pushed by hydraulic fracturing opponents, a short presentation in front of a few people in southeast of Canton, Ohio doesn’t cut it.
Sean Hackbarth is a policy advocate and Senior Editor, Digital Content, at U.S Chamber of Commerce. He twitters at @seanhackbarth and is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service.
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