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Behold, the UB Shale Resources and Society Institute

Our shadowy informants have sent us this link to the the new website for the UB Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI). Click here if you’d like to fund it through the office of Corporate and Foundation relations.

Here’s their commitment to integrity, from the website: Since SRSI will receive funding from many private and government sources, the institute is committed to sustaining an environment of scientific integrity, honest investigation, and freedom from interference. SRSI will ensure that supported data and research undergo independent peer review by qualified experts. SRSI will rely on a research steering committee comprised of competent research and technology experts of both internal and external experts to evaluate research objectivity and assess research quality. Also, it is SRSI policy to encourage its researchers to publish their research findings in peer-reviewed, professional, or scholarly journals. Investigators who rely on SRSI support are expected to share their results with their peers and colleagues at professional meetings, conferences, and other venues.

They must mean going forward, since their first paper was not peer reviewed, nor was it published in a scholarly journalalthough it was authored by gas industry shills.

As for being “guided by science,” check out some “Outcomes and Measures of Success” envisioned by the institute:

  • Improved communications: The Institute’s external communications should help inform fact-based decision-making by public officials and well-educated citizens. By providing multidisciplinary, data-validated information relating to shale gas development, the quality of related reporting and public understanding should improve.
  • Informing industry advances: The Institute will maintain transparent, impartial communications with its industry partners, provide access to new knowledge, and facilitate dialogue with policymakers — so that industry participants can help develop and implement best practices that have been identified through research.
  • Outreach initiatives: Drawing upon faculty expertise in environmental anthropology, public anthropology, cultural studies, and archaeology, the Institute offers unique opportunities for outreach and collaboration with diverse groups affected by shale resource development, including Native American communities.

Contributing to economic growth in New York State: The Public Policy Institute (the research arm of the Business Council of New York State) has estimated that the economic impact for New York of drilling 500 unconventional gas wells per year includes the potential creation of 15,500 direct jobs and up to 47,000 other jobs using a standard jobs model.  These jobs would pay double the upstate New York salary average, and tax revenue for New York and local government of $214 M would be generated in 2015.  Although some have disputed these numbers, the facts from neighboring Pennsylvania cannot be disputed.  In 2009-2010 alone, just two of the Marcellus industries (extraction and mining support activities) resulted in the creation of 4,355 new jobs.   There is no other potential source of job creation, economic growth or tax base growth for New York State that comes anywhere near the potential impact of gas development.  The return on investment the Shale Resources and Society Institute will be thousands of times if the Institute is supported with the necessary resources, and is allowed to play a major role in shaping the regulatory and policy debate for New York.  This return will be expressed not only in increased grant and external support, but also in the increased ability of UB students to find jobs and remain in Western New York State.

So, SRSI “is an independent, non-partisan, non-lobbying group” with the stated goal of “contributing to economic growth in New York State” through hydrofracking—as recommended by the Business Council of NYS—”if it’s allowed to play a major role in shaping the regulatory and policy debate for New York”?

What could possibly go wrong with a plan like this?

 


  • Jim_Holstun

    Hmmm, let’s see:  the SRSI is “committed to sustaining an environment of scientific integrity, honest investigation, and freedom from interference.” But they also tell us that  “The return on investment [of?] the Shale Resources and Society Institute will
    be thousands of times if the Institute is supported with the necessary
    resources, and is allowed to play a major role in shaping the regulatory
    and policy debate for New York.”

    I’m not quite following here: presumably, their program of honesty scientific inquiry MIGHT conclude, “Don’t go anywhere near fracking–it’s stone, cold crazy to contaminate ground water, spill carcinogenic criminals, release underground uranium, and create earthquakes for the sake of pumping more carbon into the atmosphere and enriching a few already-bloated petrocapitalists.”

    If so, how exactly will this warning create a “return on investment” and generate all of these jobs? Golly. It almost sounds as if SRSI knows what it will be saying even before it conducts all of this research. Science Lite: turn out the lights, close your eyes, and have faith, New York–the frackers will take care of you.