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SUNY Buffalo Shuts Down Its Institute on Fracking

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Fracking Study Institute shut downThe State University of New York at Buffalo announced Monday that it was closing down its newly formed Shale Resources and Society Institute, which was devoted to the study of hydraulic fracturing, citing “a cloud of uncertainty over its work.”

The institute’s first study, released in May, drew sharp criticism for being biased in favor of the oil and gas industry.

In a letter addressed to the “university community,” President Satish K. Tripathi said he was closing the institute after an internal assessment that determined that it lacked “sufficient” faculty presence, that it was not consistent enough in disclosing its financial interests and that the credibility of its research was compromised because of questions over its financing.

“It is imperative that our faculty members adhere to rigorous standards of academic integrity, intellectual honesty, transparency and the highest ethical conduct in their work,” Mr. Tripathi wrote.

Buffalo’s decision is the most extreme response to date over criticism of academic bias in research related to the controversial natural gas drilling process commonly known as hydrofracking, or fracking. The University of Texas at Austin is conducting a similar review of a university fracking study released earlier this year. One of the professors who fostered the study did not disclose that he was on the board of a gasoline company.

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