Press Release: Haste Makes Waste

In pell-mell rush to discredit development of shale gas,
some academics end up discrediting themselves – by violating basic standards of accuracy, rigor


Activists Act Fast to


Rush-Out Incomplete Research

Media, Anti-Energy
Groups Jump All Over It
Soon After, Academic Forced to Concede Fundamental Errors in Work
Preliminary Assessment of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions from
Natural Gas obtained by Hydraulic Fracturing


Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Robert W. Howarth

David R. Atkinson Prof. of Ecology & Environmental Biology, Cornell University

March 17, 2010

“[N]atural gas [obtained by HF] and coal from mountain-top removal probably
have similar releases, and in fact the
natural gas may be worse in terms of consequences on global warming.”

(Howarth, Mar. 17, 2010)

Fracking not a cleaner alternative: Cornell prof


By Jon Hurdle


March 31, 2010

Natural gas obtained by the controversial technique of
hydraulic fracturing may contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and so should not be considered as a
cleaner alternative to coal or oil, according to a Cornell University researcher.

Although natural gas produces
only about half of the carbon
dioxide emissions of coal, that calculation omits greenhouse gas emissions from the well-drilling, water-trucking, pipeline-laying,
and forest-felling that are part
of the production of hydraulically fractured natural gas, Prof. Robert Howarth argues in a new paper.

3 Weeks Later: “I blew it.”


“Howarth’s analysis, however, is just a preliminary one. He’s already found one major error in his original calculations. ‘I blew it,’ he says, by not including the impact of methane leaks from coal mining.” (Kevin Bullis, MIT Technology Review, April 16, 2010)

FLASHBACK: “Robert Howarth, Ph.D., told a news conference that natural gas extracted from shale is nearly as dirty as coal or dirtier, due principally to methane leaks.” (YouTube, 9/15/10)

Energy In Depth breaks down the (sub-1,000-word) “study” HERE.

‘Fracking’ Mobilizes Uranium in Marcellus Shale, UB Research Finds


“Marcellus shale naturally traps metals
such as uranium and at levels higher
than usually found naturally, but lower than manmade contamination levels,”
says Tracy Bank, PhD, assistant professor
of geology in UB’s College of Arts and
Sciences … “My question was … will uranium then show up in groundwater?” (Release, 10/25/10)

Tapping natural gas could release uranium


United Press International

October 25, 2010
Researchers at the University of Buffalo in New York say the
process, known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” could
force uranium in the rocks to
move into groundwater, a university release said Monday.

Earthjustice: “[Professor] Bank found that naturally occurring uranium trapped in Marcellus shale
is released into groundwater
following hydraulic fracturing
…” (David Lawlor, Earthjustice blog, 10/27/10)

NRDC: “’Will uranium then show
up in groundwater?’ The answer, [Bank] and colleagues found,
is yes
.” (Kate Sinding, NRDC Switchboard blog, 10/26/10)

4 Days Later: “That subtitle shouldn’t be there!


“An early press release about Bank’s research raised questions about uranium showing up in groundwater, but the scientist said she had not approved that line on the alert. ‘It’s not an issue about drinking water. That subtitle shouldn’t be there,’ [Professor Bank] said. ‘This is not a drinking water problem.’” (Jenny Mandel, E&E News [subs. req’d], October 29, 2010)

EID Responds: “To do an accurate study of fracking waste, [EID] noted, scientists should look at rock brought up from underground. Contacted by e-mail, Bank did not immediately respond to a question about the source of her lab’s samples. … “We have 2,300 wells in the Marcellus” in Pennsylvania, [Tucker] said, with ‘zero evidence that any amount of uranium has come from any of them.’” (ibid)

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