It appears UT Austin provost, Steven Leslie, will initiate a review of a recent study by on Charles Groat penned for the fracking industry. Mr. Groat, associate director of the Energy Institute and former director of the U.S. Geological Survey published a report on the merits of fracking February 16. The report “New Study Shows No Evidence of Groundwater Contamination from Hydraulic Fracturing” only cost $270,000.
The report’s integrity deserves closer scrutiny when you learn that Groate happens to sit on the board of Plains Exploration & Production, receiving 10,000 shares of stock each year for his service. He also receives an annual fee, which amounted to $58,500 in 2011. Apparently Groat conveniently forgot to mention his board seat to University of Texas officials before he published the report.
In 2011, Groat reportedly made $400,000 for his paid research, more than double his unviversity salary. The news of the obviously questionable “research” is yet more evidence of a cozy relationship between large corporations and crony capialist academics who are willing to pen what’s needed for the right price. Charles Ferguson detailed similar research for hire practices in his documentary Inside Job calling out the hypocrisy of Glenn Hubbard and Frederic Mishkin.
I’ll be curious to see what the UT provost finds in his review. For more information about research for hire, you can read chapter 8 of Ferguson’s new book, Predator Nation. The evidence of corruption and collusion between corporations and academia is readily apparent. You just have to follow the money!