U. at Buffalo Closes Gas-Drilling Institute Accused of Improper Industry Ties

The University at Buffalo will close its controversial Shale Resources and Society Institute, whose work came under fire from critics who accused its researchers of having improperly close ties to the gas industry. Satish K. Tripathi, the university’s president, announced his decision to shut down the institute on Monday, after consulting with faculty members and other top administrators on the State University of New York campus. The institute had released a report this year claiming that pollution from the gas-drilling technique known as fracking had declined in recent years—findings that critics questioned as they pointed out the researchers’ industry ties. In a letter to the university, Mr. Tripathi said that research of such great importance could not be conducted under a “cloud of uncertainty.” He added that the university’s disclosure rules were consistent with federal guidelines, but were “in need of further clarification” because they had been applied inconsistently. Mr. Tripathi originally defended the institute and its work, but he wrote on Monday that “every faculty member has a responsibility to ensure that conclusions in technical reports or papers are unambiguous and supported by the presented data.”

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