Halliburton Chief Executive Officer Dave Lesar touted the safety of the company’s new CleanStim fracking fluid during a keynote address at a gas industry conference in Colorado earlier this month. Lesar was so confident in the safety of CleanStim, he was willing to drink it. Er, not exactly. He didn’t imbibe himself, but handed the fracking fluid over to one of his underlings, an unnamed Halliburton executive, who took a “swig” of the fracking fluid according to the Associated Press report filed tonight.
Although Halliburton acknowledges that CleanStim is “not intended for human consumption,” it boasts that the new fracking fluid is made with “ingredients from the food industry.”
The “executive drinks own chemical” trick shows that Halliburton is clearly stepping up its PR game in the face of growing public concern over the controversial fracking process.
It is great that Halliburton has created a supposedly safe fracking fluid, don’t get me wrong. But CleanStim isn’t the formula that is in widespread use at gas fracking operations around the country right now. The public still has no clue about the exact formulas the industry is using currently (because the industry doesn’t want the public to know). But what little information we do have is that most current formulas are likely to contain a laundry list of cancer-causing chemicals.
We don’t hear about gas industry executives drinking the current chemical cocktail during PR stunts, yet they assure us that it is all safe, of course. Forgive the residents of communities whose drinking water has become tainted due to gas drilling operations if they don’t take Mr. Lesar’s stunt seriously.
As an EDF staffer put it in the Associated Press article, “a homeowner in Pennsylvania doesn’t have the option of having an underling drink his water. He has to do it himself.”