When President Obama decided to include unconventional gas as a central pillar in his “Blueprint for a Clean Energy Future” he must have had an idea that this was going to create controversy. Some would say that a clean energy future and fracked gas are, to put it lightly, at odds with one another. Perhaps that is why the President directed his Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to form a special advisory board to investigate the growing number of scientists, doctors, independent experts, environmental NGOs, and media outlets - DeSmogBlog included - concerned that fracking for unconventional gas threatens public health, the environment and the global climate.
Dr. Holditch began his testimony [.docx] today with the expert-ish sentence, “Shale gas is for real.” He then went on to belittle concerns about the fracking process, repeating standard industry excuses about how fracking chemicals are similar to products we all have in our homes, like Clorox, Dawn dish soap and food products like guar gum. (Minus all the other toxic fracking chemicals he failed to mention, of course.)
Dr. Holditch did not hesitate to state his opinion “that the United States has a real opportunity to develop it’s [sic] unconventional gas reservoirs (shale gas, coal gas and tight gas).”
After acknowledging that the panel and the industry did not have all the relevant information to make declarative statements about the safety of fracking, and confirming that “there are real issues with water, air emissions, and community impact that must be addressed by the oil and gas companies” - Holditch nevertheless stated, “It is my opinion that current drilling and hydraulic fracturing activity does not adversely affect shallow drinking water aquifers.”