Monday, SUNY Buffalo closed the doors of its Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI), what we at DeSmog have described as an epicenter for "frackademia" and a public relations front for the oil and gas industry to promote hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") under the guise of scientific legitimacy that a university offers.
A letter from SUNY Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi said that the nail in the coffin for SRSI was what we coined its "shill gas study," the first paper published by SRSI. All of the co-authors of this paper had direct ties to the oil and gas industry, as did four out of five of its peer reviewers.
Tripathi explained his rationale behind slamming the door shut on SRSI, writing,
The university upholds academic freedom as a core principle of our institutional mission. With that being said, academic freedom carries with it inherent responsibilities...The May 15, 2012 report...led to allegations questioning whether historical financial interests influenced the authors' conclusions. The fundamental source of controversy revolves around clarity and substantiation of conclusions. Every faculty member has a responsibility to ensure that conclusions in technical reports or papers are unambiguous and supported by the presented data. 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.
Because of these collective concerns, I have decided to close the Shale Resources and Society Institute.
Tripathi's announcement comes shortly before the upcoming SUNY Board of Trustees meeting set to take place in Albany, NY on Dec. 3-4.
New Yorkers Against Fracking proclaimed the announcement a "victory for real science over junk science peddled by the gas industry."