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Scientists Call for Firing of Head of DOE Fracking Review Panel

Former CIA head John Deutch has been chairing U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu’s advisory group on hydraulic fracturing, more frequently referred to as “fracking.”

Since leaving the CIA, former head John Deutch has earned more than $1 million serving on the boards of energy companies and it is this proximity that has made Deutch unsuitable to chair the advisory group, environmentalists and scientists charge.

Twenty-eight scientists told Chu in a letter that Deutch, a trained chemist, should be removed from the Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board because under President Bill Clinton in 2006-2009 Deutch received more than $1.4 million from energy companies Schumberger and Cheniere Energy, the federal government’s allgov.com website reported. They wrote that the Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, "appears to be performing advocacy-based science and seems to have already concluded that hydraulic fracturing is safe," asking Chu to replace Deutch "with a person with no financial ties to the natural gas and oil industry" and add "independent members" to the committee.

Critics have also observed that all but one member of Chu’s Natural Gas Subcommittee Advisory Board have financial ties to the natural gas industry. Those members are Stephen Holditch, Kathleen McGinty, Susan Tierney, Daniel Yergin and Mark Zoback.

While the Energy Department does not have the authority to oversee and regulate natural gas production, the environmentalists and scientists are concerned a positive endorsement by the Natural Gas Subcommittee Advisory Board of fracking could assist the industry in its battle to keep the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the mining process.

By. John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com



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