Starkey Citizens for a Clean & Healthy Environment
MIT’s Ernest Moniz, Obama’s Top Candidate for Energy Secretary, Oversees Pro-Industry-Funded Research

Oil and gas companies are funding research at major universities to counter environmental objections to shale gas drilling. President Obama is considering appointing a key beneficially of industry monies at MIT as his new energy secretary.

The oil and gas industry has campaigned hard and paid handsomely for academic support for its media talking points.

Those efforts to justify and promote aggressive drilling for natural gas in shale formations recently erupted in scandal at three highly-regarded universities: Penn State University, the University of Texas at Austin and the State University of New York at Buffalo. Each time, critics of industry-friendly research ferreted out the university’s failure to fully disclose industry ties and ran to the media, which reliably produced ‘gotcha’ stories and nicknamed the practice “Frackademia.”

But those stories ignored or barely mentioned the energy industry’s pervasive influence at an even more prestigious school: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. MIT’s brand as a reliable source of peerless science remains intact.

Even the ombudsman at The New York Times has been dazzled. When the newspaper’s internal critic took issue with an investigative reporter’s probe of the economic staying power of the shale gas boom in July 2011, he scolded the Times reporter for failing to incorporate more optimistic views, particularly MIT’s. The school’s motives were never questioned.

But a long-running squabble between MIT and a pair of professors from Cornell University has helped pull back the veil — even as Reuters reports that one of the school’s leading energy experts is President Obama’s favorite to become the next U.S. Secretary of Energy.
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