Charles G. Groat

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Charles G. Groat
Charles Groat USGS.jpg
Groat as Director of USGS, 1998–2005
13th Director of the United States Geological Survey
In office
1998 (1998) – 2005 (2005)
Preceded byGordon P. Eaton
Succeeded byMark Myers
Personal details
Born (1940-03-23) March 23, 1940 (age 79)
Westfield, New York, USA
ResidenceTexas, USA
Alma materUniversity of Rochester
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Texas at Austin.
Scientific career
ThesisGeology of Presidio Bolson, Presidio County, Texas, and adjacent Chihuahua, Mexico (1970)

Charles G. "Chip" Groat[1] (born March 25, 1940 in Westfield, New York) is an American geologist. He is a professional in the earth science community with involvement in geological studies, energy and minerals resource assessment, ground-water occurrence and protection, geomorphic processes and landform evolution in desert areas, and coastal studies.[2]

Education and career[edit]

Groat received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology (1962) from the University of Rochester, a Master of Science in Geology (1967) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Ph.D. in Geology (1970) from the University of Texas at Austin.[2][3]

Dr. Groat served as associate professor (1976–1978) at the University of Texas at Austin, in the Department of Geological Sciences, and as both Associate and Acting Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology. From 1978-1990, Dr. Groat held positions at Louisiana State University including professor for the Department of Geology and Geophysics; and at the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources including assistant to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (1983–1988) and later as Director and State Geologist for the Louisiana Geological Survey.[2]

Groat was Executive Director (1990–1992) for the American Geological Institute. He served as Executive Director (1992–1995) at the Center for Coastal, Energy, and Environmental Resources, at Louisiana State University. From May to November 1998, he served as Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Projects at the University of Texas at El Paso, following three years as Director of the Center for Environmental Resource Management. He was also Director of the University's Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. Program and a Professor of Geological Sciences.[2]

Dr. Groat became the 13th Director of the U.S. Geological Survey on November 13, 1998.[2] He was appointed by President Bill Clinton and retained by President George W. Bush.[1] Groat resigned as Director on June 17, 2005.[4]

After leaving the USGS, he returned to the University of Texas at Austin to direct the Energy and Earth Resources Graduate Program and the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy In July 2008, the University of Texas at Austin named him interim dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences.[1]

Among his many professional affiliations, Groat is a member of the Geological Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. He has also served on over a dozen earth science boards and committees and has authored and contributed to numerous publications and articles on major issues involving earth resources and the environment.[2]

Dr. Groat became the founding president and CEO of the Water Institute of the Gulf formed in 2011. “There is no better laboratory in the world than what we have right here,” says Charles “Chip” Groat, “We see this as an opportunity to form new engineering and science capabilities and advance the work in the field. It’s good for the state, and it’s good for science.”[5]

Fracturing study and controversy[edit]

Groat led a study at the University of Texas Energy Institute, presented at a February 2012 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, that "found no evidence that hydraulic fracturing... had contaminated shallow groundwater."[6][7] The study narrowly defined hydraulic fracturing as only referring to the injection of fluid under pressure to create pathways. The definition excluded the impact of equipment failure, the nature of the fluids themselves, the preparations prior to injection, spills, and events following the injection, such as movement of the fluid through soil and faults, and impact of flowback and wastewater, which the study found to be likely sources of contamination.[8]

In July 2012, the objectivity of the study was called into question by the Public Accountability Initiative after they discovered that Groat received compensation as a director of Plains Exploration & Production, an oil and gas producing company, and that he held 40,000 shares of their stock. The Initiative director characterized Groat as a "gas industry insider." In response, Groat stated, "The results were determined by the individual investigators, not me and I did not alter their conclusions." Officials at the University of Texas were previously unaware of his compensation by Plains and commissioned an outside review of the study. Professor Groat retired from the University of Texas of Austin effective November 30, 2012. On December 6, 2012, the University of Texas posted a statement on its website stating that an independent review of the circumstances surrounding the fracking study had found weaknesses in the University's ethics regulations. The University accepted the reviewers' findings and promised an overhaul of its conflict-of-interest policies. The statement also announced Groat's departure from the University of Texas and the immediate resignation of Raymond L. Orbach from his post as Director of the Energy Institute.[9][10][11] The Plains Exploration & Production board dissolved in 2013 when the company merged with Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.


  1. ^ a b c "Charles Groat Named Interim Dean of Jackson School of Geosciences". Press Release. University of Texas at Austin. 2008-07-01. Archived from the original on 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
  2. ^ a b c d e f  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "About USGS: Charles G. Groat "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2009-06-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), United States Geological Survey".
  3. ^ Groat, Charles George (1970). Geology of Presidio Bolson, Presidio County, Texas, and adjacent Chihuahua, Mexico (Ph.D.). The University of Texas at Austin. OCLC 7298696 – via ProQuest.
  4. ^ "Secretary Gale Norton Praises Leadership of U.S. Geological Survey Director Dr. Charles Groat". News Release. U.S. Department of the Interior. 2005-06-09. Archived from the original on 2009-05-07.
  5. ^ "Coastal Progress". Louisiana Economic Development.[dead link]
  6. ^ Fracking does not contaminate groundwater, says scientist[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Fracking contamination downplayed (BBC NEWS
  8. ^ Fact-Based Regulation for Environmental Protection in Shale Gas Development (PDF) (Report). University of Texas at Austin. February 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  9. ^ Henry, Terrence (December 7, 2012). "Why the UT Fracking Study Controversy Matters". StateImpact Texas. National Public Radio. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
  10. ^ Henry, Terrence (July 24, 2012). "Texas Professor On the Defensive Over Fracking Money". StateImpact Texas. National Public Radio. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  11. ^ Vaughan, Vicki and Jennifer R. Lloyd (July 25, 2012). "Prof didn't disclose business ties to fracking". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved July 25, 2012.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gordon P. Eaton
Director of the United States Geological Survey
Succeeded by
Mark Myers