Tuesday, July 9, 2013

UB Professor Jim Holstun Receives Conservation Award

By Art Klein and Jay Wopperer
Conservation Committee Co-chairs
Adirondack Mountain Club - Niagara Frontier Chapter (ADK-NFC)

At the Annual Meeting and Picnic the Committee selects a person whom we think should be the ADK-NFC Conservation Person of the past year.
Jim Holstun at the founding meeting of UB CLEAR* - NY Times
This year we unanimously selected Jim Holstun, who teaches World Literature at SUNYAB.
Jim was the hero who forced the SUNYAB leadership to admit they had let a wolf in sheep's clothing to slip into UB, technically the Geology Department. Holstun was a founder and the chair of a group called UB CLEAR, the Coalition for Leading Ethically in Academic Research.
A couple years ago the Natural Gas Industry decided to infiltrate academia and develop "special relationships," especially in Geology Departments. At SUNYAB, the Shale Institute was their guise and unapologetic industry shills ran it from the Fracking side of Natural Gas development.
Like many technological and science efforts such special bodies work with the universities both gaining mutual benefit from the effort and the University often realizing much needed income and special insight to many aspects of any process that is not already part of the academic realm.
Soon UB's Shale Institute published a report that assured the world of the environmental safeness and theoretical total benefits of Fracking. The report was portrayed as a peer-reviewed, valid, scientific study.
Then the tattiness of the report began to emerge. The report was actually "sort of peer reviewed," then it was admitted no such review was done. Also, the authors were consultants for the oil and gas industry but failed to disclose their financial conflicts in the report.
The Public Accountability Initiative did a detailed study of the report and discerned some terrible arithmetic, distorted emphasis and even signs of repressed data. Liberal Arts folk were now ethically aroused by a bad actor in their midst with the blessing of the University Geology Department.
In the end the Institute was bounced and the ethically-inclined Holstun and many allies rewarded for their very special efforts.
We had a very pleasant presentation of the reward at our annual meeting and became quite delighted with Professor Holstun who revealed his acumen by having done some research and was glad to note us as such wise Stewards of the Adirondacks, especially our High Peaks Steward Program. Naturally then he briefly explored the etymology of the word steward and expressed hope we would not diminish our efforts.
We were all equally pleased that we had one great selection on one great day to present it.

*For more information on the many allies who helped to expose the Shale Institute shills, Click Here.
Editorial cartoon in The Buffalo News by Adam Zyglis

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