Former UT professor heads major Gulf restoration project

A former University of Texas professor caught in an ethics scandal involving a flawed hydraulic fracturing study will be heading to the Gulf of Mexico to lead a major restoration project.

Charles “Chip” Groat was named in February as the president and chief executive of The Water Institute of the Gulf, according to a New Orleans Times-Picayune story. The non-profit science institute, which received a $1 million grant, is tasked with restoring the Louisiana coast after the Gulf oil spill, the Times-Picayune reported.

Groat’s name appears on the non-profit groups website.

Groat has been caught up in an ethics scandal involving a flawed study on hydraulic fracturing.

Groat failed to disclose that he served on the board and received more than $400,000 from Plains Exploration and Production Co in 2011. An independent review found Groat’s failure to disclose his conflict was a “principal shortcoming” of the research.

The review of the University of Texas study also said it “fell short of contemporary standards for scientific work,” according to an Associated Press story.

He resigned from his position last month.

The study, which was heavily covered by the media, found no link between hydraulic fracturing and water contamination. It was widely viewed as a boost for the natural gas industry that has had to fight off concerns of water and air pollution from drilling.