NIKIFORUK: Shale Gas: Myth and Realities

NIKIFORUK: Shale Gas: Myth and Realities

Postby Oscar » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:46 pm

Shale Gas: Myth and Realities

Nikiforuk tackles top claims fracking industry uses to reassure public. First in a series.

By Andrew Nikiforuk, Today,

Industry and government repeatedly claim that hydraulic fracturing is safe because it is a well-regulated technique proven in the field over 60 years.

It that myth or reality?

A good person to ask is Anthony Ingraffea, a short and engaging scientist who knows how to separate fact from fiction in the shale gas industry.

On Dec. 14 of last year the Cornell University engineer, one of the world's foremost authorities on the science of hydraulic fracturing, gave a stunning talk on the myths and realities of unconventional shale gas development to a room full of Calgary academics and oilmen.

He did so with some trepidation in the oil and gas city, even though he has given some 120 public talks on the subject over the last four years to rural and urban audiences.

"The playing field isn't level," he told the Tyee. "Oil and gas companies are tremendously wealthy and have very loud speakers. They can buy TV and full page ads and place them wherever they want."

As a consequence, Ingraffea feels it is his duty as a scientist to provide missing information, challenge outright lies, and expose the uncomfortable science about mining methane from shattered rock.
True to form, Ingraffea presented science, little known by the public, that was highly critical of the practice of hydraulic fracturing. He documented proven and repeated cases of groundwater contamination due to shale rock fracturing as well as chronic methane leaks (a climate change driver) at nearly seven per cent of all new well sites.

"I don't imagine things. I don't blog things," he told an attentive audience of more than 100 petroleum types and academics. "I'm a licensed professional engineer in the state of New York. I'm trying to be as accurate as possible."


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