WVU Extension Program on Marcellus Criticized for Omission of Risks; Bias due to Industry Funding?

by Dee Fulton on April 26, 2011

In my brief stint as a CPA, I was taught that for accounting purposes, it is not enough that a transaction is legal and not improper by technical standards. The transaction must also have the appearance of propriety. The appearance of propriety is lacking in the relationship between the WVU Extension Service and the oil and gas industry and the effect of that relationship upon the Marcellus public education series sponsored by WVU Extension Service.    Recently players in the Marcellus shale gas industry donated $125,000 to the Extension Service to train and fund a program of public education regarding Marcellus shale.  Chesapeake Energy and Dominion each donated $50,000 and EQT gave $25,000 in funding.  The West Virginia Sierra Club has criticized this program as being incomplete in that the speakers do not address the impacts and risks which accompany Marcellus shale gas drilling.  Carol Warren, an officer with the West Virginia Environmental Council,  previously brought attention to this issue in a pointed Letter to the Editor published on April 14th.  Ms. Warren wrote, “When I inquired whether the presentations would include information for the public about known environmental impacts, the myriad related health effects or plummeting property values, I was told there are many issues about drilling and these would have to be dealt with in later sessions. How much later? When pigs fly?”   story here, Charleston Gazette 4-23-11

PS  Chesapeake Energy has also helped out over the past 3 years by providing funding ($20,000 per year) for an annual national training program that encourages community development; that program is administered by WVU Extension.

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