Mountain States

Gary Hanson’s Reality Check

The professional activists who have an ideological objection to domestic energy production routinely portray the men and women of America’s oil and natural gas industry as reckless and even opposed to science. That’s not true, of course. The men and women of the oil and gas industry are thoughtful professionals who use science every day to responsibly bring energy that’s trapped deep underground to the surface, where it fuels our economy, creates jobs and supports our way of life.

I was lucky enough to spend some time recently at the Colorado School of Mines with a large gathering of these scientific professionals. The CSM hosted an American Association of Petroleum Geologists Geoscience Technology Workshop, and one of the speakers was Gary Hanson – a geologist, hydrologist and director of the Red River Watershed Management Institute at Louisiana State University Shreveport. The AAPG invited Hanson, a respected academic and researcher, to speak about the debate over the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing and shale-gas development.

The discussion should be based on “facts, not fear,” Hanson told the room full of geologists. Too often, critics of the oil and gas industry are using “research” that may be “peer reviewed,” but in name only. That’s because none of the reviewers or researchers have any knowledge of petroleum geology or petroleum engineering or the “research” is based on misleading data, Hanson said. His comments echoed a recent Associated Press story headlined “Experts: Some Fracking Critics Use Bad Science.Of course, while the folks at Energy In Depth welcomed the AP story, it wasn’t really news to us – we’ve seen that many times before.

Hanson makes the point that in using these faulty arguments, critics confuse reality and perception. The reality is that hydraulic fracturing does not cause groundwater contamination. Yet critics may perceive a threat to the landscape, or feel fossil fuel usage should be halted altogether and seek out incorrect information to support their perception.

But when it comes to the truth about hydraulic fracturing, “the public has the right to know,” says Hanson. That’s probably why he agreed to be interviewed for EID’s film Truthland. Check out his clip below:


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