Hydrofracking in Focus: What Every Citizen Needs to Know

Science & Management Forum
Hosted: May 5, 2012 

An overview of the science behind gas extraction via hydraulic fracturing, including potential groundwater impacts and the treatment of wastewater.

The forum's goal is to provide citizens with current information on hydraulic fracture gas extraction, a drilling technique that has become the focus of environmental and economic discussions in New York State. Several of the speakers are from Pennsylvania, where drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation is already underway.

Speakers & Videos

William Schlesinger, Ph.D., President, Cary Institute

William Schlesinger is a biogeochemist and president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Before coming to the Institute, he served in a dual capacity at Duke University, as both the James B. Duke Professor of Biogeochemistry and Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. The author or coauthor of over 200 scientific papers, he has been investigating the link between environmental chemistry and global climate change for over 30 years. An elected a member of The National Academy of Sciences, has testified before U.S. House and Senate Committees on a variety of environmental issues. Dr. Schlesinger received his Ph.D. from Cornell University.

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Avner Vengosh, Ph.D., Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
Methane and Water Contamination Associated with Shale Gas Development and Hydrofracking

Avner Vengosh is a P rofessor of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. His research links environmental geochemistry and hydrology in order to better understand water contamination and human health. His current research includes the impact of gas drilling and hydrofracking on the quality of shallow groundwater, salinization of water resources in the Middle East and Northern Africa, naturally occurring contaminants (arsenic, fluoride, boron) and radioactivity in water resources, and the impact of coal combustion residues on the environment. Dr. Vengosh received his Ph.D. from the Australian National University.

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Radisav Vidic, Ph.D., P.E., Chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh
Water Quality, Quantity, and Management: Lessons from the Marcellus Shale Region

Radisav Vidic is a William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Chair in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests are in the water-energy nexus, including the reuse of water for cooling thermoelectric power plants and water management for environmentally-responsible development of Marcellus Shale, including the use of acid mine drainage for hydro-fracturing operations. He has published over 150 papers and sits on the Science Advisory Board for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan. Dr. Vidic received his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

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Mark Boling, J.D., Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Southwestern Energy
Hydraulic Fracturing Operations–Separating Fact from Fiction

Mark Boling joined Southwestern Energy in January 2002 as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Directors. He became Executive Vice President in 2002, and was named President of Development Solutions in 2012. In 1993, Boling opened a private law practice in Houston specializing in the oil and gas industry. Prior to that, he was a partner with Fulbright and Jaworski LLP where he worked from 1982 to 1993. Boling holds a juris doctorate degree from Southern Methodist University and a bachelor’s degree in geology from DePauw University.

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Bernard Goldstein, M.D., Dean Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
The Potential Public Health Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

Bernard Goldstein is former dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. He has published in the areas of the toxicology of environmental chemicals, public health decision making, and global issues in environmental health. Before coming to the University of Pittsburgh, he was professor and chairman of the Department of Environmental and Community Medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the founding director of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, a joint program with Rutgers University. He has served as assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and chaired the recent NRC Committee on Sustainability at the US EPA. Dr. Goldstein received his medical degree from New York University.

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Simona Perry, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rapid Shale Gas Developments and Stress Factors in Northern Appalachian Communities

Simona Perry is a Research Scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Her work addresses address social and environmental conflicts emerging from economic development projects across North America. As a Mellon Post-Doctoral Scholar, she spent two years living and working in Bradford County, PA documenting the environmental, economic, social, and psychological changes resulting from the rapid development of shale gas. Prior to coming to RPI, she directed a non-profit environmental education organization and worked as a field biologist, environmental regulator, and policy analyst with the National Marine Fisheries Service. Dr. Perry received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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Emma Rosi-Marshall, Ph.D., Aquatic Ecologist, Cary Institute; Moderator
Q&A Session

Emma Rosi-Marshall is an aquatic ecologist whose research investigates how human activities impact water resources. Through investigating river and stream ecosystems, her work seeks to reveal how human modifications—from dams and urbanization to agriculture and contaminant-laced wastewater—impact the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems. Before coming to the Institute, she served as a professor at Loyola University of Chicago. Rosi-Marshall received her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia at Athens.

Additional panel participant:
Kate Hudson, J.D., Riverkeeper

Kate Hudson became the Watershed Program Director at Riverkeeper in 2011, after nearly 25 years of working in state government to protect the environment of New York State. Past duties include serving as the Acting Regional Attorney for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 3, as well as an Assistant Attorney General in the Environmental Protection Bureau of the NYS Attorney General’s Office—where she was a member of the team responsible for preparing the PCB claim against General Electric. In her last post before joining Riverkeeper, she oversaw a ten person unit dedicated to pursuing claims for natural resource damages against a variety of polluters. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she earned her Law Degree from New York University.


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Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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