Hydraulic fracturing is focus of first of UH energy debates

The University of Houston is launching a series of four debates on key energy issues, with the first one set for Tuesday on hydraulic fracturing.

Paul Krishna, issues manager for environmental, health and safety at XTO Energy — which is a unit of Exxon Mobil — will debate Scott Anderson, senior policy adviser for the Environmental Defense Fund’s climate and energy program. Margaret Hill, a partner at law firm Blank Rome, will moderate.

“Energy is a complex, multifaceted issue, and UH serves as a location to share ideas and discuss issues that go beyond the popular sound bites,” Ramanan Krishnamoorti, who directs the UH energy initiative, said in a statement. “We are engaging with respected experts from the industry and think-tanks to better educate our students, staff, faculty, alumni and the broader Houston community.”

UH’s Energy Symposium Series, which is free and open to the public, is put on by the its College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the energy program.

Tuesday’s debate is set for the Hilton University of Houston Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom, beginning at 6:30 p.m. RSVP to uhenergyseries.eventbrite.com.

Krishnamoorti said that hydraulic fracturing is a critical topic because along with horizontal drilling, it has revolutionized the nation’s energy landscape.

“The discussion we are engaging in here is to truly understand the process of fracking and best practices, and to determine if such processes can be truly sustainable as the technology is going to be deployed worldwide,” he said.

Topics and dates for the other debates are as follows:

— Liquefied natural gas exports, Nov. 12.
— The threat of climate change, Feb. 11.
— The sustainability of renewable energy, March 4.