Fracking fraud

In Fissures appear in scientists’ assurances about safety of frackingGlobe and Mail writer Mark Hume describes how industry used the work of Charles Groat, of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas, to discount concerns about the safety of fracking.

“Now a review panel appointed by the University of Texas has taken a hard look at Dr. Groat’s report, and has concluded his study “fell short of contemporary standards for scientific work.

“Not only was the work suspect, reported the panel, but Dr. Groat himself was in a troubling conflict of interest….

“In British Columbia, where the gas industry is racing to tap into vast shale deposits in the northeast, the government has been assuring first nations that fracking is not causing any environmental harm. The groundwater is safe, the government says. It is now clear there is reason to doubt that.”

StateImpact, a reporting project involving NPR, provides more detail about the science-for-hire expert who came to Vancouver to reassure British Columbians about the safety of intensive fracking in north-east energy fields.

“[Groat] sits on the board of Plains Exploration and Production Company, a Houston-based company that conducts drilling and fracking in Texas and other parts of the country. According to the new report (and a review of the company’s financial reports by Bloomberg) Groat received more than $400,000 from the drilling company last year alone, more than double his salary at the University. And one of the shales examined in Groat’s fracking study is currently being drilled by the company, the report says.

“Since 2007, …PAI says Groat’s total compensation from the company is close to $2 million.”

Postmedia gave uncritical coverage to Groat’s report favouring fracking but the “news” organization provided a clear implication that environmentalist opponents were engaging in fearmongering and speculation. Looking through the Twitter stream of Margaret Munro, National Science Writer, Postmedia News, I didn’t find any recognition that the newspapers’ reporting about Groat was mindless cheering for little-regulated polluters.

Much of the definitive reporting on fracking has been provided by ProPublica in the series: Fracking – Gas Drilling’s Environmental Threat.

Ms. Munro might be wise to spend a few days reading the more than 100 examinations offered by ProPublica.

Alternatively, she might browse through the articles at Public Accountability Initiative.

Rod Smelser tweets about another good piece at All About Fracking.

Almost any choice would be more informative than reading (and echoing) industry press releases.

P.S. – Ms. Munro tweeted Dec 10, about 3 pm:

“Fissures appear in scientists’ assurances about safety of fracking at AAAS.”

Good start from the writer. Postmedia readers, let me know if the newspapers provide follow-up. I won’t hold my breath.

Categories: Fracking, Postmedia

6 replies »

  1. I was watching “the voice of BC” last night and according to Coleman we in BC have been long at it and are the most experienced “frick and frackers” anywhere with no issues with ground water. Palmer still doesn't understand why some of the public is concerned about oil tankers and actually said that he looks out and ” sees them go by Victoria EVERY DAY”. Somebody might want to help Palmer and point out which ones are fish boats.


  2. Norm, a local gentleman, to use the term loosely, since I don't consider lying sacks of excrement to be actual men, gentle or not, who works up north in fractionation, insisted I was ignorant to suggest anything was wrong with fracking because “they only inject 'pure' virtually distilled, water into the ground.

    It is difficult to see how this can be true, while at the same time even doctors who are only allowed to learn what toxins, flammables and carcinogens are contained in the fracking solution in order to help them treat their affected patients – but can't share the formula itself with the perhaps poisoned patient. This is because the formula of the solution is “proprietary.” Now the formula for pure water as we all know is H2O, which is hardly proprietary! So who's zooming who?


  3. Weibo Ludwig was 100% correct…these guys have no idea what the frack they're talking about!

    I'm glad we get to leave a polluted planet to our grandchildren, but get to extract all profits now.


  4. Enough water, even pure and virtually distilled, injected at high pressure into the (orifice of choice) of your gentleman or Mr. Coleman would do irreparable harm and release all manner of nasty stuff through their alternate orifices. Although it would probably take more water in Mr. Coleman’s instance.


  5. Anon 8:56
    Who knows. Perhaps our grandchildren will be clever enough to extract profits from the frackin' mess that we leave them. That is, given enough time to evolve into a form that can survive the pollution.
    Its enough to make one reconsider procreation.
    John's Aghast


  6. Don't knock fracking people. We can have, free home heat. In some places all they have to do is, light the water on fire coming out of their faucets. Ranchers and farmers may have to move their livestock, a hundred miles away from the fracking.

    We just have to pray. Livestock and humans can evolve quick enough to tolerate drinking, oil and gas in our water. They are searching for more earth like planets. This planet is pretty much being destroyed. Government greed and money, trumps common sense every time.

    It really is so true. Humans are the most destructive animals on the planet and, the most stupid ones at that.


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