Steve Sibray to speak at fracking seminar Sept. 15 |

Steve Sibray to speak at fracking seminar Sept. 15

“Fracking, Science, and Public Perception: What the Public Needs to Know about Hydraulic Fracturing” is the title of a Sept. 15 seminar at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff.

The speaker will be Steve Sibray, geoscientist for the UNL Conservation and Survey Division, who is based at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center. The seminar will begin at 3 p.m. in the Bluestem Room. It is free and open to the public.

Sibray’s topics will include the history of hydraulic fracturing; how it works; horizontal drilling; the chemicals used in the process and how they are reported to regulators; methane gas in shallow aquifers; specific cases that have received public attention in Wyoming and Pennsylvania; and findings about hydraulic fracturing in a 2015 report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

He will also share information about the proposed saltwater disposal well in Sioux county, including the potential for groundwater contamination and earthquakes.

Sibray will explore the reasons that public perception of hydraulic fracturing is often negative, and discuss the positive aspects of the practice as well.

Sibray has been a hydrogeologist for the Conservation and Survey Division for 27 years. As a certified petroleum geologist, he also spent eight years working with Exxon, where he evaluated and helped design hundreds of oil and gas wells.

In his role at the Conservation and Survey Division, he performs research and provides scientific and technical info on the groundwater resources in western Nebraska to local government agencies, the Nebraska Environmental Quality, Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC), natural resources districts (NRDs), Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and landowners. One of his current projects includes working with several NRDs and the NOGCC using borehole geophysical data from the oil and gas industry to map the base of the aquifer in the southern Panhandle.

–UNL Extension