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'Straight from the Horse's Mouth': Former Oil Exec Says Fracking Not Safe

Retired Mobil VP confirms technology is dangerous and untested

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Groups in New York are pushing Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking in the state. (Photo: Credo.fracking/ Creative Commons)In a message "straight from the horse's mouth," a former oil executive on Tuesday urged New York state to pass a ban on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, saying, 'it is not safe.'

"Making fracking safe is simply not possible, not with the current technology, or with the inadequate regulations being proposed," Louis Allstadt, former executive vice president of Mobil Oil, said during a news conference in Albany called by the anti-fracking group Elected Officials to Protect New York.

Up until his retirement in 2000, Allstadt spent 31 years at Mobil, running its marketing and refining division in Japan and managing Mobil's worldwide supply, trading and transportation operations. After retiring to Cooperstown, NY, Allstadt said he began studying fracking after friends asked him if he thought it would be safe to have gas wells drilled by nearby Lake Otsego, where Allstadt has a home. Since that time, he's become a vocal opponent of the shale oil and gas drilling technique.

"Now the industry will tell you that fracking has been around a long time. While that is true, the magnitude of the modern technique is very new," Allstadt said, adding that a fracked well can require 50 to 100 times the water and chemicals compared to non-fracked wells.

He also noted that methane, up to 30 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, is found to be leaking from fracked wells "at far greater rates than were previously estimated."

In response to Allstadt's statement, the environmental group Food & Water Watch tweeted:

Elected Officials to Protect New York held the news conference to promote local initiatives to ban the practice in the state and to call on officials to push for more renewable energy sources. Protesters in New York have been pressuring Governor Andrew Cuomo not to lift the state moratorium on fracking, a move he said he would consider by Election Day 2014.

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