Friday, July 02, 2010

Marcellus Misfires

For everyone interested in anything related to Marcellus Shale issues, here is a headline: Penn State Admits Gas Study Flaws

There had already been some public rumblings on this to go along with what was being said more quietly.  As academic things go this one is in the 'wow' category. 


Blogger Gloria said...

I live in Lawrenceville & am learning all that I can about this form of gas drilling. Estimates of Marcellus' worth range from billions to $1 trillion. This money is going towards bribing/paying state politicians, local media, etc. I hope people will not only consider the source, but also who signs the source's paycheck, when they're gathering information. We keep hearing all regulatory power is in the state's hands, yet H-burg won't even pass an extraction tax. Thank you again for helping to make people aware of what billions of $ can do. Considering the consequences of gas well explosions in rural communities, I support a ban on drilling within the city.

Friday, July 02, 2010 2:11:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Don't they have conflict of interest and disclosure forms/rules/etc.? Or is that just medicine?

Friday, July 02, 2010 2:38:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Just to be precise, the identified flaws were: (1) not identifying the sponsor in the initial version of the first study; (2) putting the Penn State logo on every page of the initial version of the first study; and (3) crossing the line between policy analysis and policy advocacy in the section on a severance tax.

The third flaw in particular has real world implications in light of the current context. Nonetheless, I think it is important to note the identified flaws did not include the actual methodology used in the analysis (not that we necessarily have to agree with that analysis).

Friday, July 02, 2010 3:18:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I wouldn't overinterpret on what is known so far. I am pretty sure this story is far from over. The Penn State letter is going to open up more review of that report. I'd love to see some peer review from someone in economics specifically.

The important point in the Penn State letter is where they pretty much state they did not make any judgment on any of the inputs used in thereport. I don't quite understand how they reviewed the report without making a judgment other than saying it's all up for debate. All they seem to be saying is that the tool used (the IMPLAN model.. a perfectly good tool) is an appropriate tool for this type of analysis. Nonetheless, I bet the Penn State attorneys are following up beyond the issuance of that letter.

Realize that letter is pretty extraordinary in itself. It sure comes across as them trying to distance themselves from what I think they expect is coming.
as for conflict of interest issues. I think most everyone has to sign disclosure forms of one form or another. I think one issue in this case is that one of the main authors left for another school.

Friday, July 02, 2010 4:36:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

I'm certainly not ruling out the possibility there is more to come--but I do think it is important to be clear about what has been identified as a "flaw" so far.

Friday, July 02, 2010 10:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say this, but this is how it works these days. The cigarette industry PR hacks pioneered it, now everyone follows it. Step One, the PR hacks write (or hire someone to write) a "study". Step Two, the "study" is blessed by some legitimate (or legitimate sounding) university or institute. Step Three, the PR hacks widely publicize the "study". Step Four, anyone who criticizes the "study" is on the fringe and out of the mainstream. Step Five, by the time the study is discredited, the public is so confused as to throw up its hands and say that it can't trust anyone.

Saturday, July 03, 2010 7:58:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

JimR points out a related news story from State College that has a more important piece of information on all of this.  It says that David Passmore at Penn State is working on an actual economic impact report on all of this that will be completed in the fall.  I'll say up front that I would trust whatever he comes up with in terms of quantifying the employment impact of Marcellus drilling.  

Saturday, July 03, 2010 2:51:00 PM  

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