Shell CEO: Fracking done right doesn’t pollute groundwater

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

In an interview with the BBC, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser argued that hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — done in the right way does not cause groundwater pollution.

“Groundwater is very high up in the aquifer,” Voser said. “We go down to four thousand meters, so the issue is really how you drill through the ground water. So if you do your casing, you’re cementing, etc., the right way, there is no groundwater pollution.”

“You cannot show to me a groundwater pollution over the last six years, it didn’t happen,” Voser added.

Fracking involves injecting fluids into cracks in rock formations in order to widen them and allow more oil and gas to escape, increasing the amount of oil and gas that can be recovered.

“Fracking has been done for the last 67 years, and it can be done in the right way. But it needs the right technologies and it needs the right… footprint in terms of how much land you actually use, what chemicals you use, how you actually drill your holes, etc.,” Voser said, adding that some some government regulation is needed.

The process has been heavily protested by environmental groups who have claimed, along with Democrats, that fracking can pollute groundwater.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now considering looking into the practice for a link between fracking and drinking water contamination. Congressional Republicans have criticized the move.

The Hill reports that House Republicans sent a letter Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday arguing that the CDC investigation could hurt job growth if done poorly. The letter also expressed concern that naturally occurring substances in groundwater could be improperly mislabeled as contaminants.

“Despite the significant growth of natural gas development, we are greatly concerned that the scientific objectivity of the Department of Health and Human Services is being subverted and countless jobs could be in jeopardy,” said the letter from Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The EPA is also conducting a study on the effects of fracking drinking water, and a progress report on that study is set to surface by end of the year.

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