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Critics question university research funded by shale gas industry

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Fracking studyProfessors funded by the shale gas industry have produced influential research supporting the industry at major institutions including Penn State University and the University of Texas at Austin and don’t always disclose where the money is coming from.

There’s a growing backlash against the practice. State University of New York trustees last week ordered a review of the University at Buffalo’s shale gas institute after faculty members complained that authors of a controversial report were tied to the industry.

The University of Texas at Austin last month named a panel of experts to review its own controversial pro-industry study. The Texas report found no evidence of groundwater contamination from “fracking,” the process of injecting high-pressure water and chemicals underground to free gas inside shale rock.

But the professor who led the study, Charles Groat, failed to mention he’s on the board of a company engaged in fracking that paid him $400,000 last year.

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