UT fracking study confirms that fracking is not the worst thing about fracking

The UT “study” on fracking is not really a study, it’s a report. When it first came out, I glanced at it and thought “meh” because much of it is still in draft form, it has not been peer reviewed and it’s not really a scientific study. Add to that the fact that the report was largely funded by ConocoPhillips and that Dr.Groat has spent his career in the oil and gas industry including  a recent gig as Director of an oil company board in Houston. What can you expect?

According to the report, we don’t need to worry about fracking because fracking is not the worst thing about fracking. Most problems are caused from the drilling. Okay, I can roll with that! I’m not sold on giving fracking a pass due to industry’s preferred  narrow definition of fracking, but we’ve always reminded people that fracking is only a small part of dirty extreme energy extraction. In fact, the worst part is likely the MASSIVE amounts of toxic waste that is generated.

Some quick thoughts about the UT fracking report:

  • Groat says there is no evidence of groundwater contamination from fracking. Then in a taped interview he admits there is little baseline water testing. In other words, we don’t know where the contamination is coming from but we just know it’s not from fracking.
  • The report points to casing failures as the greatest potential for contamination.
  • Accidents such as blowouts and spills cause most of the water contamination. (What a relief, eh?)
  • Contamination also comes from casing failure due to the high pressure during fracking, but this is not fracking’s fault that it requires such high pressure it damages the casing.
  • MASSIVE amount of waste has high potential to contaminate water.

Perspective: All this overlooks the fracking air pollution.

So remember: Fracking is not the worst part of fracking! It’s the whole dirty process.

Update: From the comments we learn that Groat’s “total ‘compensation’ package was worth $308,300.00 in 2009, and $493,598.00 in 2008” while he was director at that Houston company.

Here’s what the people who live in the Gas Patch know: When they drill and frack, our water gets contaminated.


About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. Anonomous says

    If COP had anything to do with this study–read it for entertainment purposes, chuckle and then go on about your way!

  2. Kim Feil says

    Old Groat, age 72, landed the directorship in 2007 of a “….Houston based company called Plains Exploration & Production Company (PXP). His total ‘compensation’ package was worth $308,300.00 in 2009, and $493,598.00 in 2008.” http://people.forbes.com/profile/charles-g-groat/64104
    The conclusion of this study goes on to say that “A second project, currently under development, would include a field and laboratory investigation of whether hydrological connectivity exists between water in the units above and below the shale unit being fractured as a result of the fracturing process. As envisioned, the project calls for university researchers to conduct field sampling of hydraulic fracturing fluid, flow-back water, produced water, and water from aquifers and other geologic units within the Barnett Shale.” Sooooo the fat lady ain’t sang yet regarding fracking not to blame….

  3. Lorraine Gudas says

    Dr. Groat does not get it. You can’t take money from energy companies that frack and not disclose this money to your bosses, while at the same time holding press releases about a report you wrote stating that fracking is safe. Dr. Groat stated to the media that he didn’t see what purpose disclosing his millions of dollars from energy companies would serve. Well, it would show that he is a charlatan whose scientific studies can’t be believed!