Last month, a nonprofit watchdog group revealed that prominent geologist Charles “Chip” Groat, the lead author of a report on fracking conducted by the University of Texas (UT), Austin, did not disclose financial ties to an energy company that conducts fracking. The university quickly said that Groat, former head of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), should have reported that potential conflict of interest.
UT officials also decided to appoint an independent panel to review the 414-page study, which had concluded that fracking was unlikely to contaminate ground water.
Today, the university announced that members of the three-person panel will be science policy heavyweights Rita Colwell, James Duderstadt, and Norman Augustine. Augustine, who will chair the panel, was CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp., and is a former member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.