The University at Buffalo has removed the “peer-reviewed” label from a document touting a recent study on natural-gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, acknowledging that it may have given an “incorrect impression,” Gannett’s Albany Bureau reported today.
Here’s details of the article by Gannett’s Jon Campbell:
Last week, the UB Shale Resources and Society Institute released its first study, which analyzed more than three years of regulatory violations in Pennsylvania’s portion of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation. The authors concluded the number of environmental fouls compared to the total number of wells drilled dropped from 58.2 percent in 2008 to 30.5 percent in 2010.
Originally, the university touted the study as “peer reviewed, a process of self-regulation to maintain standards and provide greater credibility.” By Wednesday, an “editor’s note” was attached to the top of the original news release that detailed the study.
“An earlier version of this story described the report as ‘peer-reviewed,”‘ the note reads. “This description may have given readers an incorrect impression.”
In general, peer-reviewed studies are submitted to a scholarly journal and subjected to a lengthy oversight process by scholars.
The news release was edited to read that drafts of the UB study were “reviewed by several individuals with expertise in related areas, who provided comments to the authors.” The edit was made to “more accurately describe the process by which the report’s authors gathered comments before finalizing their report,” according to the editor’s note.
UB spokesman John DellaContrada said in an email Wednesday: “We clarified the term ‘peer-reviewed’ as described in the press release after receiving feedback from faculty.”
Last week, the authors of the study said the research shows Pennsylvania’s regulations have become effective at mitigating environmental impacts.
“While prior research has anecdotally reviewed state regulations, now we have comprehensive data that demonstrates, without ambiguity, that state regulation coupled with improvements in industry practices results in a low risk of an environmental event occurring in shale development, and the risks continue to diminish year after year,” Timothy Considine, a University of Wyoming professor who co-authored the study, said in a statement.