Duh. New reports says many of the scientists who issue rosy reports about fracking for natural gas are on the gas industry payroll. (Economists, too, they could have added.) Not that the paychecks have any influence on their reports, of course.

Those reports feature prominently in the high-dollar ad campaign underway in Arkansas and elsewhere to promote fracking as the country’s ecomomic panacea. Road damage, environmental damage, earthquakes, inflated economic claims, meager extraction taxes? Let’s get the gas first. We’ll worry about the rest later.

Wired reports. And provides a snippet that spans more than gas drilling research (think education “reform” and other fields):

Of course, industry funding of research has been commonplace since at least the heyday of Big Tobacco, and is still de rigueur for pharmaceuticals, among others. But Thomas McGarity, a UT-Austin law professor whose research on industry money in university research led him to write the book Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research, said it’s almost impossible to imagine a bias-free study with industry cash behind it.

“They’re trying to buy the prestige of the university,” he said. “And the universities are happy to sell their prestige, I suppose.”