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Bloomberg: Public Universities Sell Out to Frackers

The State University of New York at Buffalo is not alone when it comes to spitting out phony research supportive of high-volume horizontal fracking, reports today. This time, our local economic engine (formerly known as a legitimate public institution of higher learning) joins current media darlings Penn State and the University of Texas as yet another “school” whose imprimatur is for sale to the highest, er, lowest, er, just about any, bidder. How much longer before these once-respected universities are viewed somewhere along the lines of JD Power & Associates? (No offense to JD Power & Associates—they never claimed to be anything more than a marketing information services firm).

The Bloomberg article references this report, hot off the presses from the Public Accountability Initiative (PAI). You’ll recall PAI unmasked the first study floated out there by UB’s Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI) as being inaccurate and falsely promoted as “peer reviewed” when in fact it wasn’t. It’s remarkable the speed with which PAI can spear these hokey studies, but then, it’s kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. Big, slow, blind fish that lay dying in about two inches of water. Using a shotgun.

There is no longer any doubt that the natural gas industry has been and continues working behind the scenes to co-opt public universities and major media outlets in order to gain intellectual credibility before an uninformed public—because industry shills have bragged about doing just that.

The industry’s next local dog and pony show takes place at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center this Thursday (7/26) at 7pm, according to this press release from the Independent Oil and Gas Association of NY (IOGA). There will be a screening of the short propaganda film “Truthland,” which LittleSis showed to have been the brainchild of an astroturf lobbying group and political ad agency. Can you get much truthier than that?

Among the panelists scheduled to attend is Dennis Holbrook (EVP Norse Energy). Holbrook is only now beginning to gain fame as the bigmouth who inadvertently proved that the gas industry works to intentionally mislead politicians and the public about the truth by fooling universities and editorial boards—thanks to a bootleg recording of the pep talk he delivered to industry insiders at a conference last Halloween.

When Norse Energy moved him down to Texas recently after closing the local office, Holbrook had this to say: “What’s bad news for Buffalo is good news for Houston.”

Given recent revelations, it will be interesting to see what kind of welcome this prodigal son receives.

  • James Northrup

    Prof. Jacobi’s reputation just went down the fracking toilet.  John Martin’s was already there.

  • Charley_Tarr

    SEGMENT OF FAIR-WARNING LETTER TO DR. AARON PODOLEFSKY, PRESIDENT OF BUFFALO STATE COLLEGE, DATED JULY 18th.  The letter was copied to Vice President Hal Payne, Dean of Students Dr. Charles Kenyon and approximately 20 other staff members throughout the campus.

    ……From all our past engagements, I
    know that we share a mutual passion for justice, diplomacy and debate.  My friend, a very ugly propaganda film
    entitled ‘TRUTHLAND’ has been scheduled for screening at Buffalo State’s Burchfield Penney Art Center on July 26th at 7:00 pm.   


    I would beg that you review this short
    and focused rebuttal produced by my colleague James ‘Chip’ Northrup.  Mr. Northrup was a keynote guest of the
    college as recently as June 2nd.  His
    rebuttal poignantly explains the deceptions and significant consequences of
    this film.  I would further ask that
    without censorship, we find a way to academically present the film as propaganda accompanied by open debate allowing
    an appropriate volume of time for questions and rebuttal.   Simply
    stated, in your role as college president, I hope you will support the notion
    of ‘Industry’ sharing equal time with


    I trust you are aware of the damaging
    national controversy impacting SUNY in real-time as the University of Buffalo
    and Fredonia have each created ‘Shale Gas Institutes’ of severe academic and
    ethical compromise.   A variety of
    national institutions of stature including the New York Times and American
    Association of University Professors have expressed alarm as they seek to
    critically expose the ill effects of collegiate imprimatur, sold quid pro quo
    to corporations.  Our mutual friend Buck
    Quigley was recently publicly awarded for his investigative journalism
    revealing the earliest foundations and pivotal discoveries of these
    abuses.   As corrupted relationships with industry
    continue to corrode the value of a diploma from these institutions; rest assured
    that formal investigation of loan accreditation from the Middle States
    Commission on Higher Education is forthcoming.


    Returning to the resonance of your
    own courage, Buffalo State is to be commended for thus-far contributing
    a path of positive and productive debate. 
    The Burchfield Penny event held on June 2nd was a resounding
    success.  Students, Politicians,
    Professors, Business Owners and Citizens exchanged ideas and concerns beautifully
    for hours-on-end.


    You may have noticed that the word
    ‘environmental’ and the phrase ‘hydro fracture’ are both absent from my
    letter.  This was intentional, as I ask
    for our focus to remain on ethics, diplomacy and debate.  Please note that a copy of the New York Times
    article related to the aforementioned ‘Shale Gas Institutes’ is attached for
    your review.  I have also attached a
    letter recently filed with the Planning Board and City Council regarding a
    proposal to install a Gasoline Station approximately 450-feet from your
    beautiful newly invested Track and Athletic Field.  I will of course copy you on the full brief
    as I complete the work.


    With Warm Regards,


    Charley Tarr

  • Charley_Tarr

    Here is the Northrup rebuttal on scribd as provided to Dr. Aaron Podolefsky and his administrative staff (mentioned in the letter below)

    Here is a comprehensive  link for all of the Pennsylvania DEP documentation and legal documents related to the leaking wells owned by the Depue family (Mrs. Shelly Depue is the ‘narrator’ )


  • Charley_Tarr

    One Last Story…..

    In the month of May, Buffalo State Vice President Hal Payne was suddenly summoned out of our Town & Gown Task Force meeting (held monthly in Cleveland Hall’s executive conference room).

    Mr. Payne was visibly distraught, shaken with emotion as he shared news of a female athletic coach who had lost her fight with cancer.   Mr. Payne then excused himself to solemnly depart the room.

    I am a grizzled veteran of the moment this news arrives.  In my lifetime I have also known the heart wrenching face of pediatric illness in many forms.

    Hundreds of thousands in our community are veterans of this grief.

    I dearly hope that all of you will read this article relating the staggering statistical correlations between aggressive breast cancers in women and hydro fracture drilling operations in Texas.

    In 2009, the CDC created registry showing that six counties in the western Dallas-Fort Worth area had the highest incidence of invasive breast cancer in the state. These counties are Tarrant (which includes the city of Fort Worth), Denton, Wise, Parker, Hood, and Johnson.

    HERE is a map of those six counties outlined in pink over a map showing production in the Barnett Shale. Add 2 + 2.