Hydraulic fracturing wrongly bears brunt of public concerns on shale gas development, expert says

Hydraulic fracturing wrongly bears brunt of public concerns on shale gas development, expert says
CHRIS CASTEEL

WASHINGTON — Hydraulic fracturing has wrongly been the focus of public concerns over growing natural gas development in the nation, members of a special Energy Department panel told a Senate Committee on Tuesday.

Though natural gas exploration can pose air and water pollution threats, the process of fracturing shale rock to free trapped natural gas thousands of feet below the ground should not be the primary concern, the panel’s experts told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“Hydraulic fracturing has sort of become a bumper sticker for everything we have to watch out for,” said Mark D. Zoback, a Stanford University professor of geophysics who has been studying hydraulic fracturing for 30 years.
“The constant reference to hydraulic fracturing misrepresents” where the most significant environmental impacts could be, Zoback said.

Those potential impacts include well blowouts, leakage from faulty well casings and leakage and spills from areas containing flowback fluids used in hydraulic fracturing, he said. (NewsOK)

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