Chevron CEO admits fracking raises “legitimate” safety concerns

Chevron CEO admits fracking raises “legitimate” safety concerns


Is Chevron more clued in to the dangers of fracking than the federal government?

It would seem so. The company’s CEO said this week that the industry needs to do a better job of resolving concerns about the safety of the practice. From Bloomberg:

Energy producers must deal with the “legitimate concerns” that gas development associated with hydraulic fracturing is unsafe by adopting tougher standards, Chevron Corp. Chief Executive Officer John Watson said. …

“Public expectations are very high, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be high,” Watson said. “There are some risks out there. Some risks are overstated. But we have to engage them either way.”

Kurt Glaubitz, a Chevron spokesman, said Watson was referring to concerns with truck traffic and the disposal of hazardous wastewater from the fracking process as areas of concern the industry needs to confront.

Those are stronger words than we’ve heard from the Obama administration, which is taking a less-than-aggressive approach to regulating the fracking industry — much to the anger of environmentalists.

Still, the comments amount to little more than rhetoric. Chevron is being sued by neighbors in Pennsylvania over pollution and noise from its gas fracking wells. And Chevron’s overall safety record is appalling. A string of accidents, including an explosion at a San Francisco Bay Area refinery last year, recently cost Watson some of his annual bonus. (But don’t worry about him, he still took home more than $30 million last year.)

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants:

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Chevron CEO admits fracking raises “legitimate” safety concerns

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