Wednesday, June 29, 2016

High-Level EPA Adviser Accused of Scientific Fraud in Methane Leak Research - DeSmogBlog

Pumpjacks in oil field (Photo Credit: Oil Rig, by SMalindo, via Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
It's one of the highest-stakes debates in the battle over climate change policy action:  how much methane is spewing from oil and gas sites nationwide, and what do we do as a result?  If enough of the odorless, colorless methane gas leaks or is vented into the air, scientists say, then burning natural gas — marketed as a green fuel that can help wean the U.S. off of high-carbon fuels — will actually be worse for the climate than coal, long seen as the fuel that contributes the most to global warming.

Recently, over 100 community and environmental groups sent a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency's internal watchdog to investigate claims that a top methane researcher had committed scientific fraud and charging that he had made false and misleading statements to the press in response to those claims.

Earlier this month, NC WARN, an environmental group, presented the EPA Inspector General with evidence it said showed that key research on methane leaks was tainted, and that one of the EPA's top scientific advisors fraudulently concealed evidence that a commonly-used tool for collecting data from oil and gas wells gives artificially low methane measurements.

The 68-page complaint dated June 8 laid out evidence that David Allen, a professor of engineering at the University of Texas who served as the chairman of the EPA's Science Advisory Board from 2012 to 2015, disregarded red flags that his methane measuring equipment malfunctioned when collecting data from fracked well sites, a problem that caused his University of Texas study to lowball leak rates.

“We used the terms scientific fraud and cover-up because we believe there’s possible criminal violations involved,” said NC WARN executive director Jim Warren.  “The consequence is that for the past 3 years the industry has been arguing, based largely on the 2013 study, that emissions are low enough that we shouldn’t regulate them.”

Read more at High-Level EPA Adviser Accused of Scientific Fraud in Methane Leak Research

No comments:

Post a Comment