Letter to the Editor: Fracking has brought good things to Okla.
Andrew Sartain, in his Nov. 1 column on hydraulic fracturing, made some comments that I found to be quite inaccurate and irresponsible. Before I remind him of the incredible impact the oil and gas industry has had on this university and this state, I would like to address his comments that are untrue.
He states the potential risks hydraulic fracturing poses to drinking water are major concerns. However, in 2011, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency stated, under oath to a U.S. House of Representatives Committee, she was aware of no instances of ground water contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing.
Even our own Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony has stated on record that in more than 100,000 hydraulically fractured wells in Oklahoma, there have been zero documented cases of groundwater contamination. Before Sartain makes dangerous blanket statements, he needs to check his facts.
Secondly, Sartain refers to a scene in “Gasland” in which the tap water in Pennsylvania is found to be flammable. The movie-makers and Sartain blame this on hydraulic fracturing. They fail to realize many water wells are drilled in areas where methane occurs naturally near the surface, thus leaking into the water supply as a result.
A third reckless point Sartain makes is the smog content in the Barnett Shale in the summer is caused by hydraulic fracturing. He fails to inform the readers that a large portion of the Barnett Shale sits directly over the metropolitan area of Fort Worth. The population of Fort Worth has grown more than 23 percent since 2000 and is expected to grow another 10 percent before 2014. The baseless accusations Sartain makes about smog can be attributed to the pollution of the growing city of Fort Worth.
Sartain claims the benefits of hydraulic fracturing are “not worth it” when compared to the risks. The 3 million Americans employed as a result of natural gas production would disagree — and so would I. Many of the beautiful buildings on this campus have been funded by oil and gas companies and their founders, officers and employees.
The oil and natural gas industry is the largest industry in this state, providing massive tax revenues for the state, which ironically are used in part to fund the very newspaper Sartain uses to criticize the industry. OU’s oil and gas-related areas of study are world-renowned as being on the cutting edge of technology and producing future industry leaders.
The oil and gas industry has done so much for Oklahoma, including donating millions of dollars to education and charities, as well as advancing our quality of life by bringing the Thunder and other wonderful events. We should be thanking these leaders and innovators for doing so much for us instead of falsely criticizing one of the greatest industrial breakthroughs this country has ever seen.
John Paul Albert, energy management alumnus