The Inglewood Oil Field fracking study PXP released today (Oct. 10) is a quintessential example of the oil and gas industry hiding behind sponsored scientists and environmental consulting groups to skew findings to align with their financial interests.
The study was paid for by PXP and conducted by Cardno ENTRIX, which advertises its ability to 'help the oil and gas industry meet its needs.' Further, it was peer reviewed by John P. Martin, a consultant that offers 'strategic planning, resource evaluation, project management and government/public relations services to the energy industry' and that has a record of promoting the drilling and fracking industry.
RELATED ARTICLE: Study: Fracking Not Dangerous at Inglewood Oil Field
The study looks at only the near-term impacts of a single stage of fracking done on just two vertical wells, but PXP plans to drill and frack many horizontal wells in many stages. The industry can now drill up to two miles or more horizontally, fracking in up to 40 stages along the way. This means that some of the near-term environmental impacts could be 40 times worse, on a per well basis.
And there are fundamental differences in how horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracking will interact with the underlying Newport-Inglewood Fault, compared to just single stage fracking of vertical wells.
The study dismisses the long-term risks to groundwater by essentially saying there isn’t much of it, and by citing clearly biased criticism from Energy in Depth (an Independent Petroleum Association of America front group) of a peer-reviewed scientific study.
Overall, the study protects the long-term profit interests of PXP with its narrow focus.
The conflict of interest and lack of independent scientific scrutiny involved in this “study” could not be more obvious and does nothing to address the long-term risks that drilling and fracking pose to communities surrounding the Inglewood Oil Field. It is an example of shill science at its worst.
Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.
Kristin Lynch, Pacific Region Director, Food & Water Watch
Editor's note: Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity.