“Anytime somebody from the industry wants to debate the science and the engineering,” he added, “I’m ready, willing and able to go up against anyone at any time.”
Ingraffea, who did his doctoral thesis on crack propagation in rock, said he accepts no honoria or other fees — not even travel expenses — when he speaks about gas drilling. On the other hand, he said that representatives of the gas industry have a built-in conflict of interest, as they stand to profit, if hydraulic fracturing is permitted in New York.
“Their job is to make sure they have an adequate return on the investment of the shareholders,” he said.
Ingraffea said current fracking technology only extracts 10 to 15 percent of the gas being targeted in a formation, leaving the rest unattainable forever.
“They are bludgeoning the poor landscape,” he said. “It’s a very inefficient way of generating the resource, and in the process they are actually ruining the resource for the future.”
It would make much greater sense, he said, for New York to vigorously embrace the development of renewable energy sources, which he contends could provide for all of the state’s needs. His research, he said, suggests it is possible for New York to derive 60 percent of its energy from wind turbines, 30 percent from solar power and 10 percent from other renewable sources.
Asked about recent public opinion polls showing New Yorkers are about evenly divided on the question of whether the state should permit fracking, Ingraffea said the gas industry has far outspent drilling foes in getting its message out to the public.
“It seems that you can’t watch a TV show now without seeing at least one ad that is pro gas,” he said.