New Yorkers Still Slightly in Favor of Fracking Even as More Shady “Studies” Emerge


New Yorkers believe that the economic benefits of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale outweigh the risk of potentially harmful environmental repercussions, according to today’s Quinnipiac University Poll.

The poll finds that 44 percent of New Yorkers think the economic pros of hydraulic fracturing outweigh its environmental cons — while 42 percent say the potential damage would be too great.

Let’s just hope that the poll respondents aren’t relying too heavily on some of the shady hydraulic fracturing “science” that’s been floating around lately — like last spring’s University at Buffalo study on fracking in the Marcellus Shale.

Last month the university shut down its Shale Resources and Society Institute amid findings of bias and compromised research coming out of the institute. The study released by SRSI in May found that the environmental risk of fracking in Pennsylvania, a hotbed for natural gas drilling, was decreasing and the risk associated with fracking in the Marcellus Shale would be even lower.

The Public Accountability Initiative, a research watchdog group, found the claim to be dubious. Not only did PAI find that the environmental risks of fracking were in fact increasing, but it also discovered that several of the study’s researchers and reviewers had ties to the oil and natural gas industry.

Just last Friday an independent review board at the University of Texas at Austin found that the university’s Energy Institute study on the effects of fracking on water supplies failed to adhere to rigorous scientific standards.

And, oh yeah, and it also concluded that the study’s head researcher, Charles Groat, probably should have disclosed the fact that he’s received more than $400,000 since 2007 for serving as a member of the board directors for oil and gas company, Plains Exploration & Production Co.

According to the Quinnipiac poll, 66 percent of the respondents say they’ve at least heard or read something about hydro-fracking compared to 33 percent who hadn’t. This could either be an encouraging or dangerous sign considering the countless times we’ve reported about instances of fracking misinformation being propagated as science.

See September cover story: Fracking: Boom or Doom

It’s important to note that the majority of respondents indicated that fracking is environmentally hazardous — as 50 percent say it is, and 17 percent say it isn’t. The overall results continue to vary sharply along party lines. Only 29 percent of Democrats compared to 70 percent of Republicans say that the economic benefit of fracking in the Marcellus Shale is worth the environmental risk.

The only thing that Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on is the fact that natural gas drilling will create jobs. They’re just split on whether the jobs are worth the potential risks associated with the practice.