Energy leader wants transparency on hydraulic fracturing

Energy leader wants transparency on hydraulic fracturing by Simone Sebastian, August 17, 2012, Houston Chronicle
Environmental concerns about hydraulic fracturing are legitimate…the head of the International Energy Agency told a Rice Universityaudience Friday. The agency’s executive director, Maria van der Hoeven, called on natural gas producers to improve transparency around hydraulic fracturing and its impact on aquifers and greenhouse gas emissions. … “Companies have to realize that they need to be transparent about what they are doing and they need to take the people’s concerns seriously,” van der Hoeven said, speaking at the university’sBaker Institute Energy Forum. “There’s a very real possibility that public opposition to drilling for shale gas will halt the unconventional gas revolution and fracking in its tracks.” The International Energy Agency, an independent Paris-based organization that monitors global energy dynamics, drew praise and criticism earlier this year when it released a global set of standards for shale gas production and hydraulic fracturing. The proposed standards, called the “Golden Rules,” promote better review of the environmental impacts of shale gas production and improved communication with affected communities. Without the standards and more public engagement, the natural gas industry could face more hydraulic fracturing bans, as it has in France, van der Hoeven said. … “The question is: What defines adequate transparency? When is information enough to allay public concerns?” asked Michelle Michot Foss, chief energy economist for the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, who attended van der Hoeven’s talk.

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