University of Texas Study The UT study found that all steps in the process except the actual injection of the fluid (which proponents artificially separated from the rest of the process and designated "hydraulic fracturing") have resulted in environmental contamination. The radioactivity of the injected fluid itself was not assessed in the University of Texas study. The other stages or "phases of the shale gas development life cycle" into which hydraulic fracturing has been divided in various reports are (1) drill pad construction and operation, (2) the construction, integrity, and performance of the wellbores, (3) the flowback of the fluid back towards the surface, (4) blowouts and spills, (5) integrity of other pipelines involved and (6) the disposal of the flowback, including waste water and other waste products. These stages were all reported to be sources of contamination in the University of Texas study. The study concluded that if hydraulic fracturing is to be conducted in an environmentally safe manner, these issues need to be addressed first. It is to the university's credit that the distortion seemed only to be the focus on the injection stage. There are extensive links between UT and the oil & gas industry, with the giving of fossil-fuel behemoth Royal Dutch Shell to the university currently standing at more than $24.8 million, $4m alone having been handed over for 2012. Since 2011, Shell has partnered Texas in a program called Shell-UT Unconventional Research, and the university has a similar research program in place with Exxon Mobil. Halliburton, the largest supplier of fracking services in the United States, has also given millions of dollars to the university. Statoil announced a $5m research agreement (part of which will focus on oil shale) with UT's Bureau of Economic Geology in September 2011, whose program director, Ian Duncan, was the senior contributor for the parts of the Texas study to do with the environmental impacts of shale gas development.
Cornell Study A 2012 study out of Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine by Robert Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, and veterinarian Michelle Bamberger, DVM, soon to be published in 'New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy,' suggests that hydraulic fracking is sickening and killing cows, horses, goats, llamas, chickens, dogs, cats, fish and other wildlife, as well as humans. The study covered cases in Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.The case studies include reports of sick animals, stunted growth, and dead animals after exposure to hydraulic fracturing spills from dumping of the fluid into streams and from workers slitting the lining of a wastewater impoundment (evaporation ponds) so that it would drain and be able to accept more waste. The researchers stated that it was difficult to assess health impact because of the industry's strategic lobbying efforts that resulted in legislation allowing them to keep the proprietary chemicals in the fluid secret, protecting them from being held legally responsible for contamination. Bamberger stated that if you don't know what chemicals are, you can't conduct pre-drilling tests and establish a baseline to prove that chemicals found postdrilling are from hydraulic fracturing. The researchers recommended requiring disclosure of all hydraulic fracturing fluids, that nondisclosure agreements not be allowed when public health is at risk, testing animals raised near hydraulic fracturing sites and animal products (milk, cheese, etc.) from animal raised near hydraulic fracturing sites prior to selling them to market, monitoring of water, soil and air more closely, and testing the air, water, soil and animals prior to drilling and at regular intervals thereafter.