Positive University Study on Fracking Was Led by a Gas Company Insider

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Charles Groat
A study from the University of Texas (UT) was heralded as an independent assessment that no link existed between hydraulic fracturing and groundwater pollution. But it turned out the report’s author was anything but independent.
The report (“Fact-Based Regulation for Environmental Protection in Shale Gas Development”) by UT’s Energy Institute, was written by faculty member Charles “Chip” Groat, who sits on the board of Plains Exploration & Production (PXP).
PXP uses hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”). Furthermore, Groat failed to disclose this position and that he owned a $1.6 million stake in the company.
The university is now having an independent panel of experts review Groat’s report. Steven Leslie, UT’s provost and executive vice president of the University of Texas, Austin, said: “We believe that the research meets our standards, but it is important to let an outside group of experts take an independent look.”
The report was not the first one to prove advantageous to the fracking industry. A 2009 study by Penn State warned drillers would pull out of Pennsylvania if the state imposed new taxes on them. Lawmakers then cited the report as the reason for rejecting then-Governor Ed Rendell’s proposed 5% tax on frackers.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Report: Contaminated Inquiry (Public Accountability Initiative)
Contaminated Inquiry (Public Accountability Initiative)
Frackers Fund University Research That Proves Their Case (by Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg News)

University of Texas to Review Fracking Study (by Erik Stokstad, Science Insider) 


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