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Cornell prof discusses shale myths at YSU

Published: Thu, November 8, 2012 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Burton Speakman



A Cornell University professor well known for his stance against shale gas development presented myths about the industry Wednesday night.

For any myth to exist, there has to be some kernel of truth, Anthony R. Ingraffea, a professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering, told an audience at Youngstown State University.

One of those myths is that the process used in developing shale has been around for decades. Some parts of the process have been in existence for decades.

“The current technology used for developing shale has only been around for about five years,” he said. “The technology is still being developed.”

Another myth is that clustering wells together causes less impact on the surface, Ingraffea said.

Ideal development would consist of eight well clusters for every one square mile of land, he said.

“You can’t go to Pennsylvania to see what is going to happen. If you want to see what development is going to look like you have to go to Texas,” Ingraffea said.

The Barnett formation there is the only shale developed enough to view the long-term impact of drilling on the surface, he said.

Another myth perpetrated is that wells rarely fail. Research from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s division of oil and gas management show that more than 6 percent of wells leak soon after completion, Ingraffea said.

The last myth, he said, is that “natural gas is a clean fossil fuel.”

It is the cleanest fuel when it comes to carbon-dioxide emissions, he said. But when emissions of methane, another greenhouse gas, are included, he said, the impact on greenhouse gas is larger than when burning coal or oil.

Ingraffea and his colleagues’ work has been challenged by the oil and gas industry and other experts within his own university.

Lawrence Cathles, professor of earth and atmospheric studies at Cornell, called the study on greenhouse gases “seriously flawed.”

Cathles and other professors argue against the claims, stating that the leakage rate at which gas would be worse than coal is far from the current leakage rate.

“Mr. Ingraffea continues to recycle incorrect conclusions on greenhouse-gas emissions from research that has been disproven not only by his colleagues at Cornell, but also experts ranging from a former state regulator to the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Dan Alfaro, spokesman for Energy in Depth, an industry spokesgroup.


1Schmendrick(9 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

"Spokesgroup????????????" The term "industry group" would suffice. Would the writer refer to the American Medical Association as a "spokesgroup" for doctors?

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2Attis(941 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Let's add a follow-up lie/myth: that global warming (i.e. greenhouse gas emissions) had nothing to do with Super Storm Sandy and that dumping tons of more greenhouse gases into our only atmosphere will not guarantee more extreme and destructive weather in the future.

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3NoBS(2071 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

From the story: "For any myth to exist there has to be some kernel of truth, Anthony R. Ingraffea, a professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering, told an audience ..."

Well, he's wrong already. There's a myth that in the winter, the sap in trees goes down into the roots, which is why the leaves fall off. There's no "kernel of truth" in that. There are lots of myths that are complete bunkum.

"“The current technology used for developing shale has only been around for about five years,” he said."

He's wrong. Horizontal slickwater fracturing has been around since 1998. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrauli...

"His work, however, has been challenged by the oil and gas industry and other experts within his own university."

I have no doubt of that. He's so far off the mark, and so easily proven wrong, only those already drinking the kool-aid would even give him the time of day. I hope YSU can get their money back. This guy's nothing but a quack.

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4NoBS(2071 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Sorry about that - the link should be:

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5ytownsteelman(651 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Attis, what are people supposed to use for energy instead? It is not as if there is another energy source waiting in the wings to be brought into play. How much of the population should be killed off to bring the population down to the level that can be supported by green energy? Should we start with exterminating the inner cities? Look at NY, they lost their fossil fuel powered electricity and their entire civilization is breaking down. So if we do as you propose, we can expect this to happen everywhere.

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6juanita1944(34 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

i have seen so much junk as the answers for this artical...please listen to the professor on this subject.can you not see the long of the trouble that will happen? with all this shale stuff.......?who does it profit? who owns the wells?i think its from over seas........will we profit ? hell no.....the money will leave america in big bags stuffed with over more money then people will see in america....besides we will have property destroyed and never can plant...the ground again...our little garden didn't do as good this year as years ago....so we got less canned......the water sucks in girard ohio...no one can drink it....what next???they have things under the ground...when will they start seeping up into our water and ground...i might be dead by then...but what about who i leave behind......?sad look i cry for them now....god bless america...kick out those that want us dead.....and this shale stuff will one day cause deaths...by poluting our earth...god save us from greedy people...

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