RDA Rips Penn State Report on Marcellus Shale Economic Impact

RDA says report is propaganda, sponsored by Gas Industry

From the RDA newsletter (Responsible Drilling Alliance)

Lies and Broken Promises: An Emerging Giant

Pennsylvania State University’s economic report on gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale.

Pennsylvania State University has permitted two of its former professors to use the university’s research reputation to give authority to a blatant piece of gas industry propaganda. The university’s apparent endorsement of this industry-sponsored paper has allowed the gas industry to gain national recognition for it. Using their extensive public relations network, this work has likely become the most recognized academic paper ever published with the Penn State logo on its cover. Given the wide distribution it has received, the university should, at very least, be embarrassed by its low quality.

When challenged, the dean of the sponsoring school at Penn State admitted that the authors, Tim Considine and Robert Watson, may have overstepped from research into advocacy. The university, however, through their spokesperson, refused to withdraw the university’s association. 

Penn State took the position that the author’s opinions were shielded by academic freedom. The paper’s overstatements, and its misuse of statistics, I believe, reach beyond opinion to the level of dishonesty. The Penn State Report, as the industry has dubbed it, is the big lie that has put Pennsylvania citizens at a disadvantage when negotiating their future with this new industry.

Overstating their economic impact has been a very successful strategy for the gas industry. Trumpeting promises of jobs, tax generation, and economic development has stampeded our legislators into giving concessions. Expecting a “greater good”, our elected officials have become more willing to sacrifice the well being of the Marcellus region to what they believe is a coming bonanza for the entire state. The millions of dollars spent by the industry on lobbying and campaign contributions have helped to sell this proposition.

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