SUNY Prof Dr. Gary Lash Discusses the Science of Fracking

Dr. Gary G. Lash, Department of Geosciences Professor at SUNY Fredonia and Director of the SUNY Fredonia Shale Research Institute, doesn’t often grant interviews. But he recently opened up with reporter from the Dunkirk (NY) Observer about the science, and politics, of hydraulic fracturing. Dr. Lash is an international authority on the Marcellus, so when he talks, people listen!

Commenting on the fracking debate in New York State, he said:

“Sadly, this entire process has been strong on the political side and woefully weak on scientific discussion. I have no problem with whatever side of the debate a person falls on, yet too much of the discussion has been grounded in fear.”

Addressing  people’s fear that water and chemicals injected more than a mile down may one day seep upward into water tables, Dr. Lash said:

“…these fractures are not going to migrate far from the zone of interest, the Marcellus,” he said. “The upshot of this is that it is extremely unlikely that artificially induced fractures would propagate high enough to interact with a water table. The vertical migration of the very dense fluid, which even after the addition of a great amount of fresh water via the fracing process may have a salinity of in the range of 250 plus parts per thousand (the normal salinity of sea water is 35 parts per thousand), is difficult to imagine.”

And turning the political argument back on those who oppose drilling, he said:

“Agree or disagree with Marcellus production, one cannot ignore science in all of this,” Lash said. “We in New York use a bit more than 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year. That’s roughly 5 percent of total national usage, yet we are only one of the lower 48 states. One could, and some have, argue that our natural gas usage is a national issue.”

Read the entire article and Dr. Lash’s scientific explanation of the fracking process by clicking the link below.

*Dunkirk (NY) Observer (Jan 29, 2012) – Lash discusses hydro-fracking