Precej nerodna zadeva, ki jo odkriva Bloomberg, in sicer da je naftna industrija (neformalno) pritiskala na znanstvenike univerze v Oklahomi, ki so povečano seizmično aktivnost v Oklahomi povezovali s pridobivanjem nafte in plina iz skrilavcev (fracking). Naftna industrija oziroma Continental Resources pa je med velikimi donatorji univerze v Oklahomi… To seveda odpira vprašanje etike v sodelovanju med univerzami in gospodarstvom.
In November 2013, Austin Holland, Oklahoma’s state seismologist, got a request that made him nervous. It was from David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma, which houses the Oklahoma Geological Survey where Holland works. Boren, a former U.S. senator, asked Holland to his office for coffee with Harold Hamm, the billionaire founder of Continental Resources, one of Oklahoma’s largest oil and gas operators. Boren sits on the board of Continental, and Hamm is a big donor to the university, giving $20 million in 2011 for a new diabetes center. Says Holland: “It was just a little bit intimidating.”
Holland had been studying possible links between a rise in seismic activity in Oklahoma and the rapid increase in oil and gas production, the state’s largest industry. During the meeting, Hamm requested that Holland be careful when publicly discussing the possible connection between oil and gas operations and a big jump in the number of earthquakes, which geological researchers were increasingly tying to the underground disposal of oil and gas wastewater, a byproduct of the fracking boom that Continental has helped pioneer. “It was an expression of concern,” Holland recalls.
Details surrounding that meeting and others have emerged in recent weeks as e-mails from the Oklahoma Geological Survey have been released through public records requests filed by Bloomberg and other media outlets, including EnergyWire, which first reported the Hamm meeting.
The e-mails suggest a steady stream of industry pressure on scientists at the state office. But oil companies say there’s nothing wrong with contact between executives and scientists. …