Shale Task Force: Environmental and Community Impacts of Shale Development in Texas

The TAMEST Shale Task Force will examine the environmental and community impacts of shale oil and gas development in Texas.

The task force convened by TAMEST will be a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive review of scientific research and related findings regarding impacts of shale oil and gas production in Texas.

About the TAMEST Shale Task Force

  • The group will review existing scientific research and findings regarding the effects of shale oil and gas development in Texas, focusing on six areas: seismicity, land resources, water, air, transportation, and community impacts.
  • Task force members will work together over the next year to draft a comprehensive, independent, peer-reviewed report on the impacts of shale oil and gas development in Texas, which will be published in mid-2017. The methodology for the task force will be based on National Academies report production practices, including a peer review by a diverse group with expertise in oil and gas development.
  • The TAMEST Shale Task Force’s report will help Texans better understand what is and isn’t known about the impacts of shale oil and gas development in Texas, and offer advice for future research topics and priorities.
  • No funding was sought or accepted from oil and gas industry interests for this project.

“The development of vast deposits of oil and gas in the Lone Star State has had a tremendous impact on the state’s economy and the lives of everyday Texans, and provides an opportunity to learn,” says Task Force Chair Dr. Christine Economides. “This task force will report findings from studies in Texas, and identify the missing gaps in our knowledge. This will help improve practices for the industry, inform our society and improve policies for the regulators and lawmakers that oversee it.”

Christine Economides

Task Force Chair Christine Economides


Wednesday, October 5, 2016, Austin: Shale Task Force Open Meeting

At the October 5 meeting, representatives from state agencies like the Texas Water Development Board, Texas General Land Office and Railroad Commission, as well as other stakeholder groups, offered their insights, which will help inform the consensus report to be released next year. The meeting was open to the public, and audio, photos and slide presentations are available. Public input for the report was accepted at the meeting and online.

View the program >

Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Houston: University of Houston Energy Symposium, “Shale Development in Texas: Six Degrees of Consideration”

On November 29, 2016, the University of Houston hosted the TAMEST Shale Task Force for a special symposium on the project. Chair Dr. Christine Economides and other representatives from the group held a provocative panel discussion on six areas of shale development in Texas: land, air, water, seismicity, transportation and socio-economic impacts.

Summer 2017: Final Report Release of TAMEST Shale Task Force

The final report of the TAMEST Shale Task Force is scheduled to be released in mid-2017. Follow TAMEST on Twitter to stay up to date.

Task Force Leadership

Christine Economides, NAE (Chair)
Professor, Petroleum Engineering
University of Houston

David Allen, NAE (Lead)
Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
Area of expertise: Air

Ramón Alvarez
Associate Chief Scientist
Environmental Defense Fund
Area of expertise: Air

John Barton (Lead)
Professor of Practice, Zachry Department of Civil Engineering
Texas A&M University
Area of expertise: Transportation

Denny Bullard
Instructor in Petroleum Engineering
Texas Tech University
Area of expertise: Water

Joseph Fitzsimons
Uhl, Fitzsimons, Jewett & Burton, PLLC
Area of expertise: Land

Omar Garcia
President and CEO
South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable
Area of expertise: Social/Economic

Matthew Harrison
Vice President
AECOM: Americas – Upstream Oil & Gas
Area of expertise: Air

Tracy Hester
University of Houston Law Center
Area of expertise: Land

Urs Kreuter
Professor, Ecosystem Science & Management
Texas A&M University
Area of expertise: Social/Economic

Kris J. Nygaard
Senior Consultant
ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company
Area of expertise: Seismicity

Craig Pearson
State Seismologist
Railroad Commission of Texas
Area of expertise: Seismicity

Cesar Quiroga
Senior Research Engineer
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Area of expertise: Transportation

Amelie G. Ramirez, NAM
Director, Institute for Health Promotion Research
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Area of expertise: General

Danny Reible, NAE (Lead)
Professor, Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering
Texas Tech University
Area of expertise: Water

Brian Stump (Lead)
Albritton Professor of Earth Sciences
Southern Methodist University
Area of expertise: Seismicity

Melinda Taylor (Lead)
Senior Lecturer, School of Law
Executive Director, Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business
Area of expertise: Land

Gene Theodori (Lead)
Professor, Department of Sociology
Sam Houston State University
Area of expertise: Social/Economic

Michael Young
Associate Director – Environmental Systems
Bureau of Economic Geology
The University of Texas at Austin
Area of expertise: Water

Kenneth Arnold, NAE (Task Force Board Liaison)
K Arnold Consulting, Inc.

David Russell, NAS (Task Force Board Liaison)
Provost; Dean of Basic Research; Eugene McDermott Distinguished Chair in Molecular Genetics
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Jeffrey Jacobs (Task Force Project Director)
Senior Science Fellow, Institute for Water Resources
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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