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Ecology & Environment Scrutinized
by Buck Quigley
A new report from research analyst Robert Galbraith of the Public Accountability Initiative raises serious questions about the objectivity of work done by Lancaster-based environmental services firm Ecology and Environment.
The controversy is focused on E&E’s role as a technical consultant to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. In that capacity the company produced a 2011 report—as part of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Study—on the positive economic benefits of fracking in New York State. The report was touted by the DEC but widely criticized by some economists and environmental groups. E&E was paid $223,000 for that work alone, according to the New York Times.
Last week, E&E was included as a signatory on an April 22 letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo from Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York. The letter called on Cuomo to lift the state’s ban on high-volume horizontal fracturing.
Two days later, E&E was on the defensive in a letter to DEC deputy commissioner Eugene J. Leff, insisting that IOGANY had “misrepresented” E&E in its letter to Cuomo, and that tE&E only paid for an individual membership for one employee “in order to attend IOGANY’s conferences and receive its newsletter to be kept apprised of new technical developments in the industry and develop industry contacts.” The letter indicates E&E is canceling that membership and is neutral on fracking.
However, Galbraith’s research shows that E&E has positioned itself to benefit financially if the fracking ban is lifted. He points to E&E’s most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which states:
Recent advances in gas drilling techniques have opened “shale gas” reserves for development. E&E has positioned itself to respond to industry demands for permitting well development and take away pipelines required to move shale gas to market.
Galbraith also illustrates E&E’s ties to the short-lived and widely ridiculed Shale Resources and Society Institute at UB. John Martin, former SRSI co-director also identified himself as a senior advisor for E&E during a presentation at the second United States-Indonesia Energy Investment Roundtable in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 6, 2012. In addition, George Rusk, a vice president at E&E, was a member of the five-person review panel for SRSI’s first and only report, in which a fundamental math error led to an incorrect conclusion—setting the stage for the ultimate demise of the institute.
E&E did not respond to a request for comment. Read Galbraith’s full report, including other conflicts of interest, at blog.littlesis.org/2013/04/29/ecology-environment-ioga-tied-dec-contractor.blog comments powered by Disqus
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