Adapted from IPA’s press release
Three dozen Illinois People’s Action leaders protested the Illinois Prairie Research Institute’s presentation on fracking last Wednesday evening, condemning the Institute for participating in frackademia, a practice where public universities take industry money and skew research results in the favor of that industry.
“The Illinois Prairie Research Institute out takes tens of millions in taxpayer dollars. But its Board of Directors is infected with representatives of the Oil and Gas industry and the Diamond and Platinum level contributors to its lecture series are the Illinois Oil and Gas Association and a law firm that lobbies for fracking respectively. This is a conflict of interest,” said Bill Rau, spokesperson for Illinois People’s Action.
IPA challenged attendees at the event to disregard IPRI’s Spokesperson, Robert Bauer’s presentation due to the conflict of interest. The group also warned the attendees—the Chicago Chapter of the Appraisal Institute—that fracking lowers property values and that banks are increasingly not making mortgage loans in fracking zones.
“The financial risks posed by drilling are real and substantial enough that banks and insurers are adopting guidelines that forbid mortgage loans or insurance coverage on properties affected by drilling,” said Rau. “It’s a battle between oil and gas and the nest egg of countless Americans.”
IPA, which does not believe regulations can make fracking safe, has consistently demanded more transparency and public participation in the legislative and rule-making process. “What the Illinois Prairie Research Institute is doing is the opposite of transparency,” claims Sandra Lindberg, a leader with IPA. “Research contaminated by an industry profit-driven model is never reliable. The public should beware.”