Hydrofracking is getting safer, thanks to better oversight and industry practices, according to a new report from the University at Buffalo.
The study found that environmental violations related to newly-drilled wells were cut in half from 2008 to 2011.
"While prior research has anecdotally reviewed state regulations, now we have comprehensive data that demonstrates, without ambiguity, that state regulation coupled with improvements in industry practices results in a low risk of an environmental event occurring in shale development, and the risks continue to diminish year after year," said Timothy J. Considine, a University of Wyoming economics professor and the lead author of the UB report.
But Considine himself has come under fire for his ties to the oil and gas industry. He has been called "the energy industry's go-to academic for highlighting the positives, and not the negatives, of fossil fuel development."
While at Penn State, Considine published a report paid for by the Marcellus Shale Coalition that exaggerated the number of jobs that could potentially be created through fracking and ignored the dangers associated with it. Considine's work has been used by many groups in lobbying for a lift on the hydrofracking ban, as it was In June at the Manhattan Institute.
Funding of UB's Shale Resources and Society Institute has also come into question. And other UB students and professors have come out against it.
"Like the shale itself, UB's reputation is being looted, leaving a mess and a stink. What a forked-tongue piece of laundered frackaganda this is," wrote UB professor Jim Holstun in the Buffalo News comments section under a recent article about the study.