Wednesday, May 16, 2012

To Jon Campbell: Factual Error / Fact Check

Hi Jon,

Please Fact Check this:

From your piece in the Ithaca Journal:

"The peer-reviewed report was the first released by the school's shale institute, which was launched in April to study shale-gas drilling. The study was funded entirely by the University at Buffalo and did not receive industry funding, according to Martin, one of the report's authors."

This is repeated in a piece from CBS:

"All three of the report's lead authors have ties to the energy industry as well as being academicians, but institute Director John Martin said the study was funded entirely by the University at Buffalo with no industry support."

However, this is contradicted by Buck Quigley / ARTVOICE:

UB spokesperson John DellaContrada told us a few weeks back that "philanthropic support [for the institute] is pending from a variety of potential funders." Today we left a message asking him about the new report. He sent a three-word email reply. "Funded by UB." We asked for a little more clarity. He then told us that the new report wasn't funded by UB, but in fact the money came from the University at Buffalo Foundation.

The University of Buffalo Foundation operates in secret (until next year when tax forms are published)
and is not subject to FOIL:

"...Judge Patrick NeMoyer agreed with the attorneys for Hodgson Russ. The foundations are not subject to FOIL, nor to the Open Meeting Law. Any information they relinquish to the public or press would be done strictly as a courtesy. No access to records. "

So absent of a subpeona, there is no way to independently verify the accuracy of the statement about funding not coming from industry.

Gannett should not publish such statements, which have great PR value to the gas industry, BUT which cannot be verified, especially when there is proven industry connections with all players at the Buffalo Shale Institute, and the related institute @ SUNY Fredonia.

I think it would be prudent for Gannett to publish a followup with this information.

Bill Huston

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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