Bob Howarth

On Thursday, May 31, 2012, Prof. Robert Howarth (EEB) provided testimony on hydraulic fracturing  

Howarth Gives Congressional Testimony on Hydro-fracking

June 1, 2012

Bob Howarth

On Thursday, May 31, 2012, Prof. Robert Howarth (EEB) provided testimony on hydraulic fracturing in a Congressional hearing for the committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform. The hearing was entitled, “Rhetoric vs. Reality, Part II: Assessing the Impact of New Federal Red Tape on Hydraulic Fracturing and American Energy Independence.”

Bob HowarthProf. Robert Howarth participates in hydrofracking panel in Congressional briefing. (click photo for video)

An excerpt from Prof. Howarth’s testimony follows:

My name is Robert Howarth. I have been a tenured faculty member at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, since 1985, and have held an endowed faculty position, the “David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology & Environmental Biology,” since 1993. I am also the Founding Editor of the journal Biogeochemistry and an adjunct senior research scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. I have performed research and published scientific papers on environmental risk assessment and the consequences of pollution, including the effects of oil and gas development, since the mid 1970s.

I was invited to present information in this hearing on the environmental and public health consequences of hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is not new. The process has existed for many decades, using relatively small volumes of water, to stimulate gas and oil wells to increase production. What is new is the combination of high-precision, directional drilling with high-volume hydraulic fracturing. This new combination uses many times more water and chemical additives for the fracturing, often 5 million gallons or more per well. This is 50 to 100 times more fracturing fluid than used to stimulate conventional gas wells. The high-volume hydraulic fracturing combined with directional drilling has allowed the exploitation of gas resources not previously available, such as shale gas. This combination of technologies to obtain shale gas is very new, first used in Texas just over a decade ago. And over half of all the shale gas that has ever been developed in the world has been produced in the last 3 years…

(Read full testimony)