Professor/scientist shows the real data. Greenies beat him up for giving the wrong answer. Professor defends his work. Sponsor university goes PC and chickens out.
SUNY Buffalo (New York) created a new institute for studying and promoting the huge Marcellus shale natural gas formation of NY, PA, Ohio and WV - Shale Resources and Society Institute (no link). They are paying scientists to get and analyze data on the resource. Prof. Timothy Considine, University of Wyoming is one of three coauthors of "Environmental Impacts During Shale Gas Drilling: Causes, Impacts and Remedies (PDF). (Credit to Scott Anderson of EDF for the link and a balanced view.)
The fearful ecologists do "heroic data analysis" like pointing out that incidents more than doubled. While hiding the fact that drilling and production activity increased by more than ten (10) times. And they do it with a straight face. I don't know how.
The university SUNY Buffalo, which sponsored the work and published it as the first product of its new center, now says it's just the authors' opinions. They were so proud of their institute people only last week.
...The PAI’s complaints, and the study’s authors’ responses, come down to how one chooses to view the data. For example, the initiative pointed out that, between 2008 and August 2011, the total number of environmental incidents in Pennsylvania tied to fracking increased by 189 percent.
That’s true, but the number of natural-gas wells drilled during the same period increased from 170 in 2008 to more than 3,500 by August 2011, the last month examined by the survey. While the raw number of “environmental events” has gone up from 90 in 2008 to 260 through the first eight months of 2011, that near-tripling pales against the 20-fold increase in well numbers.
“That’s a key aspect of interpretation. If you look at the number of highway deaths, you have the same problem. You have to correct by some factor, like the rate of traffic,” Mr. Considine said. “You have to do that in drilling, too. If they stopped drilling entirely, there would be zero environmental events.”
The way I view data is that less than tripling incidents while increasing activity by 20 times means incidents are controlled in number. Don't you think?