Researcher Resigns Over Fracking Conflict
Failed to disclose financial ties
The lead author of a controversial study on fracking has resigned from the University of Texas after a review panel determined that he failed to disclose his close financial ties to a natural gas producer. The panel, headed by fomer Lockheed Martin chair Norman R. Augustine, found that Charles Groat, 72, is on the board of Plains Exploration and Production Company and receives 10,000 shares of stock and $58,500 from them each year.
“It is essential that the university’s policies, leadership culture and compliance systems work more diligently to confirm and reinforce the public’s trust in the integrity of its research,” the University said in a statement, while calling industry-sponsored research “highly regarded and essential to our nation’s competitiveness and safety.”
The report in question, “Separating Fact From Fiction in Shale Gas Development,” examined a number of papers on hydraulic fracturing and found no evidence that the practice contaminates groundwater.