Corbett slashes funding for gas drilling-related science research

Questions about the impact of natural gas drilling on the environment echo from one side of Pennsylvania to the other and beyond.

But Gov. Corbett's administration quietly cut funding by 70 percent for scientific research that might answer those questions, according to a new report by StateImpact Pennsylvania, a project funded by NPR and local radio affiliates.

Funding for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources wildlife research program, which looks gas drilling's effects on wildlife and climate, was reduced (from $780,000 to $251,683) as a result of declining revenues, the administration said in the report, which was written by public radio reporter Scott Detrow.

In addition, the report said, much of the research was duplicative.

Even programs that had been recommended for approval, like those looking at the impact of drilling on plant life and migratory birds and the role drilling activity may play in climate change were scrapped.

There are charges from both sides that the climate change projects' inclusion and removal was political.

Now some critics say the move flies in the face of Corbett's own statements that drilling in the Marcellus Shale would be driven by scientific research.

Included on the State Impact website is a list of the proposed projects and those whose funding was eliminated.


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