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UTA chemists receive donation to develop strategies to limit shale gas industry's impact

October 04, 2016

Trammell S. Crow, who made Fair Park-based Earth Day Texas the largest celebration of its kind in the world, has donated $150,000 to support the ongoing research efforts of the Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation or CLEAR lab at The University of Texas at Arlington.

"The CLEAR team has now published on air and water quality monitoring studies from all across Texas and we are shifting our attention toward developing effective corrective strategies and best management practices to limit negative ecological impacts," said Kevin Schug, UTA's Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry and director of CLEAR.

"With this support from Trammell S. Crow and the partnership with Earth Day Texas, we will continue to make discoveries that will ultimately make the shale energy extraction process more efficient and environmentally compatible," Schug said.

As part of the partnership, CLEAR will host a conference within Earth Day Texas on "Responsible Shale Energy Extraction," which will feature live demonstrations, poster presentations and panel discussions that will include technology developers, oil and gas regulators, industry experts, academic researchers and concerned citizen groups.

"This is exactly the kind of partnership Earth Day Texas so effectively facilitates," said Earth Day Texas Founder Trammell S. Crow. "By taking thoughtful, in-depth, unbiased research and study, we can create sustainable, eco-aware energy industries to provide clean efficient fuels with minimum impact on the environment. I'm proud to support the ongoing work of the scientists at UTA's CLEAR lab, who are on the forefront of a cleaner, greener and more equitable world."

Zacariah Hildenbrand, one of the lead scientific contributors to CLEAR, added that "This is a defining moment for CLEAR. The 'Responsible Shale Energy Extraction' portion of Earth Day Texas 2017 is going to be a great event. For the first time scientists will be able to engage in fruitful conversations with industry and regulators to discuss how we can make this process safer for the environment."

Most recently, an initial UTA study through CLEAR found abnormalities in drinking water in South Texas' Eagle Ford Shale, indicative of some contamination from industrial or agricultural activities in the area. The research was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

Another study, published in August in Science and the Total Environment, showed that highly variable contamination events registered in and around unconventional oil and gas developments are the result of operational inefficiencies and not inherent to the extraction process itself.

Frederick MacDonnell, chair of UTA's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, underlined the importance of the CLEAR lab within UTA's focus on global environmental impact within the Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions|Global Impact.

"CLEAR has a strong history of providing reliable information to the scientific community, industry and the public about the potential effects of large-scale unconventional oil and gas development on the environment," MacDonnell said. "This new donation will help CLEAR expand their reach into new services such as strategies for environmental remediations or best practices to improve the environmental management of these industrial companies."
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About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 "highest research activity" institution of about 55,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times' 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit http://www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at http://www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

For more on the Strategic Plan, see Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.

University of Texas at Arlington

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