If you google “fracking” you may be reassured by a study done by the University of Texas showing that hydraulic fracturing does not contaminate groundwater. What appears nowhere in the study is that the lead author is a paid board member and shareholder in a company that uses fracking to pursue shale gas.

“The report was presented as if it was an independent study of fracking when, in fact, the study was led by a gas industry insider,” said Kevin Connor, the director of the nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative in Buffalo, N.Y., which reported the researcher’s role Monday.

“Groat was paid $413,900 in cash and stock by the company in 2011, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings reviewed by the Statesman, more than twice his salary from the university, and holds almost $1.6 million in the company’s stock.”

The university has announced that it does not consider the author’s dual role to be a conflict of interest or bad science because, he only “reviewed the summary of findings and made no substantial changes in what was put together by the researchers.”

UT announced that it will not investigate the matter any further.


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