Ties that Bind: Head Author of Fracking Study Found to have Financial Ties to Drilling Industry

Review of UT Fracking Study Finds Failure to Disclose Conflict of Interest (Updated)

By Terrence Henry for StateImpact Texas

Resignation and Retirement Result

The long-awaited review of a controversial study on the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” was released today, and it finds numerous errors and flaws with how the study was conducted and released, as well as University of Texas policies for disclosing conflicts of interest.

Image of Charles G. Groat (born 1940), an American geologist and 13th director of the United States Geological Survey. USGS

(Read more on this story in our follow-up:Why the UT Fracking Study Controversy Matters)

The head author of the study, Dr. Charles “Chip” Groat, has retired in the wake of the controversy, and the head of the Energy Institute that released it, Dr. Raymond Orbach, has resigned as head of the Institute, the University announced today. (Update: In apress release Thursday, UT announced that Orbach had “resigned.” It did not say, however, that Orbach will be staying at UT as a tenured professor. In an interview with StateImpact Texas, Provost Steven Leslie didn’t mention it, either, saying ,”the person who oversaw the fracking report has retired from the University, and the Director resigned over this.” Orbach has in fact only resigned as head of the Energy Institute, effective December 31. A UT spokesperson maintains that the exclusion of this information wasn’t intentional. UT has since updated the press release, noting Orbach’s continued employment.)

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