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NETL Engineer Appears on List of Prestigious Researchers Who Advance Environmental Science
Greg Lackey, Ph.D.

An NETL research engineer who has dedicated his career to assessing the environmental and human health risks associated with U.S. oil and gas well infrastructure, has been named to a prestigious list of individuals who have advanced the fields of environmental science or environmental engineering.

Greg Lackey, Ph.D., appears on the “40 under 40” list of “rising stars of environmental engineering and science” released recently by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES).

According to AAEES, the program was introduced to recognize talented individuals who have, either personally or as part of a team, been responsible for helping advance the fields of environmental science or environmental engineering in a demonstrable way within the last 12 months. Winners are chosen by a panel of past recipients who weigh equally business successes and civic/philanthropic activities.

Lackey currently leads projects at NETL under the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Undocumented Orphaned Wells Research Program and provides technical assistance for the DOE/Environmental Protection Agency Methane Emissions Reduction Program (MERP), and NETL’s Carbon Storage Advanced Research and Development Program.

“AAEES is a fantastic organization that provides invaluable support to Environmental Engineers and Scientists,” Lackey said. “I am honored to be selected for their 40 Under 40 Program and I sincerely appreciate the recognition.”

NETL Director Marianne Walck, Ph.D., said Lackey’s efforts on characterizing the condition of orphaned wells, reducing emissions from marginally productive wells, and quantifying the risks that legacy wells pose to future subsurface energy projects have provided invaluable data.

“In each of those activities, Greg’s work has been an outstanding example of the important role NETL is playing in documenting and understanding the many aspects involved with orphaned wells,” Walck said. “We are delighted to see his expertise recognized by being included on AAEES’s 40 under 40 list.” 

Lackey earned a B.S. in environmental systems engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2011 and an M.S. in 2013 and Ph.D. in 2017 in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. Lackey is a husband and father of three. He is also an avid runner and advocate for autism awareness.

NETL’s Undocumented Orphaned Wells program develops technologies and methodologies to find, characterize and document orphaned wells by determining their physical locations, integrity of the wellbore, and additional environmental factors like methane emissions. The program focuses on undocumented orphaned oil and natural gas wells located on private, State, Federal, and Tribal land across the United States. The total estimated number of undocumented orphaned wells reported by states is between 310,000 and 800,000.

MERP’s mission is to reduce and eliminate non-trivial methane emissions sources to ensure a safe, reliable, and resilient natural gas supply chain. These non-trivial methane emissions include methane production, processing, transportation, and end-use operations. MERP is focused on achieving the administration’s “net-zero” emissions goals.

AAEES is a not-for-profit organization serving the environmental engineering and environmental science professions by providing board certification to those who qualify through experience and testing. The academy also provides training, participates in accrediting universities, publishes a periodical and other reference materials, interacts with students and young professionals, sponsors a university lecture series, and rewards outstanding achievements through its international awards program.

NETL drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By using its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant, and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.