Billionaire oil and gas mogul T. Boone Pickens emphatically called for an end to the United State’s dependence on foreign oil during a talk at the Yale Law School auditorium on Thursday, but not everyone was as enthusiastic about his idea of change.
Pickens called for the US automotive fleet to begin converting to domestically produced natural gas as the primary fuel source. In order to accomplish this goal, he called on the US government to allow for expanded natural gas exploration, which raised concern to audience member Julie Botnick ’14.
During the question and answer session, Botnick asked how Pickens viewed natural gas exploration’s environmental impact. Exploration is done by a process called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Gas companies pump high pressure mixtures of water and chemicals to release natural gas from fractures in the rock bed, and environmentalist groups claim that these chemicals can contaminate groundwater.
Pickens responded that in his career of fracking thousands of wells, he did not know of any environmental risks. Botnick did not push the issue further with Pickens, but later that evening posted a Facebook note titled “Don’t Pick His Plan” that criticized Pickens’s environmental stance.
Botnick claimed there was “an extreme lack of up-to-date information and research” to Pickens’s argument and warned of “becoming the generation who causes the misguided destruction of the water supply and homes of whole regions of the country.”
As of 2:26 p.m. Friday, three people “like” the post on Facebook.