Crowdfunding for fracking research

Uintah Basin gas field -- Utah

Uintah Basin gas field — Utah

**FTS Update**
I am leaving this post up as is — however I point you to the discussion in the comments section. I think Bob Arrington is right. It’s good to be skeptical about projects like this. Please feel free to join the discussion!


This is an idea whose time has come, what with so many researchers bought and paid for by not only the oil & gas industry but lots of other corporations as well. It’s humorous how they think we’ll believe any old stupid thing they tell us. Like here in Garfield County we have the recent Phase III study a la Tetra Tech which found quantities of fracking related chemicals methane, benzene, and chloride to be naturally occurring in the West Divide/Wasatch aquifer. With all those naturally occurring chemicals it’s funny the rocks didn’t frack themselves. Then last week there was the Pfizer funded study that declared multi-vitamins are a waste of money. Better you should accept poor health and take anti-depressants instead to feel better.

In order to remain truly independent, researchers are adopting crowdfunding as a means to finance research on sensitive subjects, like fracking and climate change.

Researchers Becky Alexander and Maria Zatko have teamed up to ask the question: How does natural gas fracking contribute to air pollution?

Regions of natural gas fracking in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado often experience high concentrations of ground-level ozone, which has severe impacts on respiratory health. But where does this ozone come from? Our project will try to answer this question in Utah’s Uintah Basin. Understanding the causes of high ozone levels is essential for regulators to design effective strategies to improve local air quality.

In some respects their research will pick up where last year’s NOAA study left off, only this time they will be looking closely at the relationship between snow and ozone.

Scientists launch crowdfunding effort to study winter ozone formation in Utah’s fracking patch
Snow may intensify the air quality impacts of energy development
By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A team of American and Canadian scientists want to unravel some of the secrets of winter ozone formation related to oil and gas drilling — and they need your help.

University of Washington atmospheric researcher Becky Alexander, who is leading the January research project in Utah’s Uintah Basin has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help finance the field work. The team wants to raise $12,ooo in the next three weeks via their project website at

“It’s a global outreach effort,” Alexander said, explaining that crowdfunding for scientific research is a new and growing movement. Grassroots funding helps eliminate some of the administrative overhead costs sometimes associated with traditional sources of money. Sometimes, as much as 50 to 60 percent of federal funding ends up going toward overhead, she explained.

Regions of natural gas fracking in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming often experience high levels of ground-level ozone, which can have severe impacts on respiratory health. In the winter, ground-level ozone concentrations in Utah’s Uintah Basin frequently get up to levels twice that of federal limits set by the EPA.

Normally, ozone formation is associated with hot sunny days and emissions of volatile organic compounds, but recent research has shown that snow also plays a key role in ozone formation.

It turns out that snow, in all its “pristine” glory, may be a powerful generator of highly reactive chemicals that contribute to persistent high levels of ozone — especially when cold air gets trapped near the ground by atmospheric inversions …

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5 Comments on “Crowdfunding for fracking research”

  1. Bob Arrington Says:

    Ann McElhinny and Phelim McAleer did this same “fundraising” for their psuedo documentary FracNation. It is an easy way for industry to funnel money without attaching name to their bucks. The film was certainly a downer as industry really didn’t get bang for their bucks even with heavy promotion. It was cheesy and embarrassing confrontations that would make most people disbelieving and uneas. They were desperately trying to diminish Josh Fox’s “Gasland”. Here, the industry is facing another Achilles’ Heel, air contamination and pollution. With the EPA in the frying pan and federal agencies talking about ozone and global warming, industry needs some of the “bad science” they always mouth about. An essential brewing element of ozone is the mix of NOXs and VOCs in sunlight. And yes, as every skier, snowboarder and back country winter hiker can attest, a snow field can reflect sunlight (after all it is white meaning all light reflected) and the net results can be severe sunburn.
    Well done, Peggy, well done. Another charade exposed. They probably want to justify using flare soot and produced water to melt the snow and reduce the ozone production.

  2. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Really Bob? You think this is an industry scam? If it is, they fooled me. I didn’t expose anything. I thought it was for real. Alexander is a college professor and Zatko is a PhD candidate. I understand what you’re saying but I don’t see the connection to the O&G industry here.

  3. Bob Arrington Says:

    This has been pretty much a given that snow can aid the formation of ozone. This doesn’t need proving – what is needed is unbiased substaniation of the volumes of VOCs they are putting in the air and the i.d. of the junks. When a pristine area goes bad and the only industry is O&G, that in its self is proof. I grow skeptical about these things, as there is still grant money out there from unaffiliated sources of repute. They can prove their worth by keeping good and open books.
    On the other hand, maybe that was part of Ann McElhinny’s and Phelim McAleer’s way to “poison the well”.

  4. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    I think you’re the one who has exposed a charade here, Bob. Possibly. Still not sure. But a funny thing happened yesterday. I ran into Sandy Pickard at the West Elk trailhead and she had just watched Matt Damon’s “Promised Land.” We talked about all the things he got wrong (that Landmen even look or act like Matt Damon & Frances McDormand — bwahahahahaha). But the one BIG THING he got right — the industry pulls some dirty tricks.

    On the way down the mountain, I thought a lot about that in relationship to this post and this discussion. How the industry loves to play the populist game. Like we’re all in this together. The latest CRED ads on TV come to mind. I mean is that eventually how I’m going to think and drive if I keep breathing and drinking methane?

    Anyhoo, vigilance and skepticism rule the day on this blog.

    We are so lucky to have your keen bs detector.

  5. R.Vottero Says:

    get your BS detectors { expunged in grade school } back on alert Community Counts you can count on fracking in our communities until we stop them. Public opinion {educated w/ facts} Thank you all for making truth accessible.Personal education and spread the truth.

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