Recent reports have revealed that a professor who led a study regarding oil and gas drilling is actually on the board of a drilling company. Upon discovery of the disturbing fact the University of Texas launched an investigation into the validity of the study. The study released in February by Charles Groat of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin stated that there is no evidence of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing.
Hydraulic fracturing, also commonly known as fracking, involves forcing millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals and sand deep into the ground to break up rock and release gas or oil trapped within. Several environmental groups have found that fracking can lead to the contamination of the drinking water in the surrounding area due to the substantial amounts of chemicals being pushed into the ground.
While Groat stands by his findings regarding fracking, the fact that he holds over 40,000 shares of stock, worth $1.6 million, in a company that conducts fracking has raised suspicions over bias within the report. As fracking becomes more and more financially lucrative, those involved in the use of the controversial drilling technique have spent millions of dollars to support research that says fracking is not harmful to the environment. In many instances, such as that with Charles Groat’s study, the relationship between the researchers and the drilling industry are not disclosed.