Fracking Advisory Group Riddled With Financial Ties To Gas Industry


Last Wednesday, over 20 scientists from universities and institutions in 13 states wrote a letter of concern to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu over what they called a “lack of impartiality” represented by members of the recently formed advisory subcommitee on hydraulic fracturing and natural gas.

According to the letter, six of the seven members of the Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board have current financial ties to the natural gas industry, including John Deutch, Stephen Holditch, Kathleen McGinty, Susan Tierney, Daniel Yergin and Mark Zoback.

“These conflicts of interest make it appear that the subcommittee is designed to serve industry at taxpayer expense rather than serving President Obama and the public with credible advice,” reads the letter.

Officially assembled in May 2011, the group was charged with addressing reports that hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, poses significant threats to environmental health and the public water supply.

During the hydraulic fracturing process, “millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well” (Gasland).

Thanks to its use of “advocacy-based science,” the newly-formed group has already concluded that development of shale gas can be done safely provided that companies fully disclose the chemicals used in fracturing liquids, and that they face monitoring of their activities and rigorous standards for emissions of airborne contaminants (

These findings fly in the face of hundreds of reports of water table contamination and flammable drinking water in communities around the country.

Ultimately, American people deserve to know what’s seeping into their water supply, and the gas industry shouldn’t be allowed to stack the deck just because they’d rather keep their chemicals a secret.

“At a minimum,” wrote the scientists, “we ask that John Deutch step down from the subcommittee and that you replace him with a person with no financial ties to the natural gas and oil industry. We also request that you balance the panel with other independent members and that in its evaluation the panel most heavily weight relevant peer-reviewed sources.”

The ball’s in your court Sec. Chu.

Related Reading:

EPA Chief Tells Congress ‘There’s No Proof Fracking Is Dangerous’

The Truth About Natural Gas And Energy Innovation

Shell Tries To Greenwash Fracking In South Africa

France Becomes The First Nation To Ban Fracking

Image Credit: Flickr - marcellus protest


Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M7 years ago

Go figure! Makes me ill that there is no common sense or decency left in so many.

Estelita Atti


Patrick F.
Patrick f7 years ago

Seems that integrity, like chivalry, is just not fashionable anymore...

Charles Yheaulon
Charles Yheaulon7 years ago

The gas co had to by them ,the Koke brothers and goldmen sakes were busy bribing the congress.

Dieter Riedel
Dieter R7 years ago

@Ahron E.
I do not think this kind of fear mongering is in any way appropriate for such a topic. Maybe put this attitude towards a more constructive support and promotion of alternatives to oil and gas. Except off course you find the whole situation sensible and benefit from it in some way.

Chris Ray
Chris R7 years ago

Greed greed greed. At OUR expense. Thanks Beth.

Pat Vee
Pat Vee7 years ago

Why am I not surprised.

Carol H.
Past Member 7 years ago

Does this surprise me not in the least.

Ahron E.
Ahron E7 years ago

Don't worry Patrick F. our future world will be Sharia law as long as we keep on paying Muslims for our energy. A world where you be beheaded for expressing your views.

Lin Penrose
Lin Penrose7 years ago

Fracking, just another very nasty way to supply the market demands for energy. Who is the market driver? We consumers.