Road Trip! College Profs. From Coast-to-Coast Confirm HF’s Clear Record

While nearly 2,600 miles separates Stanford University and eastern Ohio’s Marietta College, professors from both institutions are doing their respective parts to ensure that the public understands that hydraulic fracturing is safe, well-regulated and a critical technology to strengthening America’s energy security.

Mark Zoback, a Stanford University professor of geophysics who served on the Dept. of Energy’s shale gas panel, tells the university’s paper that “unnecessary suspicion and paranoia” surrounds this tightly-regulated process:

“According to the Energy Information Agency, natural gas deposits, both in the United States and the world, are absolutely enormous. … To me, enhanced utilization of shale gas resources provides an opportunity to transition to clean and renewable sources over the next few decades while helping to meet current and growing global energy needs.”

Zoback adds this about the hydraulic fracturing process:

“Hydraulic fracturing fluid is mainly water, with small amounts of thickening agent added – usually guar, the same thickening agent used in making ice cream. There is also some biocide, to kill bacteria in the water, as well as a little bit of a friction reducer. Fracturing fluids have not contaminated any water supply and with that much distance to an aquifer, it is very unlikely they could.”

And in the Buckeye State, Marietta College professor Bob Chase recently spoke with local residents about the hydraulic fracturing process. Chase, who chairs the college’s petroleum engineering and geology department, emphasized the natural gas industry’s long and clear safety record and host of measures taken to protect groundwater, reports WTAP-TV:

“The wells that we’re drilling today have at least two strings of pipe or casing and both string are cemented through the freshwater aquifer. So in other words its gives you 4 barriers of protection, 4 layers of protection against any contamination…Should we shut down the whole industry because there’s a 1 in 25,000 risk of something happening? You tell me.”

Maybe they live on different sides of the country, but these professors agree on one thing — hydraulic fracturing is a secure, safely regulated, and environmentally proven technology that is integral to America’s long-term energy outlook. Without it, we let over 100 years of energy potential remain untapped beneath our feet. As Reuters columnist Christopher Swann writes this week: hydraulic fracturing “is here to stay.”

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