A New York Post editorial advocated for New Yorkers to "frack, baby, frack!" citing a "new study out of Penn State" claiming ample economic rewards of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. However, the editorial failed to note that the study was sponsored by a lobbying group representing gas companies.
The study itself acknowledges that "the Marcellus Shale Coalition provided the funding for this study" and it was "prepared as an account of work sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition." The study was reportedly commissioned by MSC for $100,000.
Two of the study's authors, Timothy J. Considine and Robert Watson, previously wrote two reports also sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition. The dean of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, William E. Easterling, criticized the initial version of their 2009 report for making the "clear error" of failing to identify the sponsor, which is against Penn State policy. Easterling further stated that it would be "simply incorrect usage" to refer to the earlier report as a "Penn State report" rather than a "Marcellus Shale Committee report." Easterling also criticized the study's authors because they "may well have crossed the line between policy analysis and policy advocacy."
The current report has found results more favorable to the Marcellus Shale Coalition than state statistics suggest. As reported by Pennsylvania newspaper The Citizens Voice, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry statistics show that there are about 19,000 people employed in the "Marcellus Shale core industries," while the report found that Marcellus shale "directly create[d]" more than 67,000 jobs and "supported" nearly 140,000. Furthermore, a Pennsylvania Department of Revenue report found that companies engaged in natural gas drilling activities and related businesses in Pennsylvania have paid more than $1.1 billion in state taxes since 2006, while the study found that the Marcellus gas activity generated that much state and local tax revenue in 2010 alone.
The New York Post is not the first News Corp. outlet to spin a fracking study.