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LSU professor’s study disputed

Deanna Narveson  The Daily Reveille


David Dismukes, associate director of the University’s Center for Energy Studies, sat on a panel as one of four experts in the energy industry at a Grow Louisiana Coalition forum Tuesday, although the credibility of his research on the topic discussed has been under speculation since 2012.

Dismukes’ emails, obtained through a public records request by the state and the Vermilion Parish School Board, show a study he authored in 2012 used data given to him by Exxon Mobil, distorted facts to support his thesis and purposely concealed oil companies’ involvement in his research.

The study, titled “The Impact of Legacy Lawsuits on Conventional Oil and Gas Drilling in Louisiana,” was published in February 2012. The study explored the effect of the lawsuits claimed by landowners against oil and gas companies saying their land had been contaminated.

The study claimed the lawsuits had hampered the industry and bolstered oil and gas lobbyists’ views of the suits. It has been used by oil and gas industry advocates like Don and Gifford Briggs of Louisiana Oil and Gas Association to back their claims that the state’s legal climate is causing the industry to leave for greener pastures, The Ind reported.

According to a March 2012 police report, Dismukes crashed his car into the car of a process server who said Dismukes was attempting to avoid being served a subpoena in connection with his 2012 study.

Dismukes said Tuesday he could not comment on the speculation concerning the 2012 study because of the subpoenas issued.

The emails show the involvement of the Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corporation in Dismukes’ research, and he said in an email given to The Daily Reveille that he was under pressure to produce the report. In another email, he said he wasn’t sure how he would “fess-up” to where some of the information used in his study came from because it was provided by an oil company.