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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Is The Fracking Boom Doing More Harm Than Good?


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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
29 June 2012, 2:59 PM
Live debate this Sunday featuring Earthjustice's own Deborah Goldberg

Tune in this Sunday to a debate between environmental advocates and defenders of the fracking industry.

Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney in Earthjustice’s Northeast office, and Katherine Hudson Watershed Program Director at Riverkeeper of Riverkeeper will be arguing that the country’s natural gas boom is doing more harm than good. They’ll be squaring off against Joe Nocera, the business-friendly OpEd columnist for the New York Times and Sue Tierney, a former Assistant Secretary for Policy at U.S. Dept. of Energy.

The debate takes place in front of a live, voting audience who will be polled before and after to determine the winner. The debate will be moderated by ABC News correspondent John Donvan.

The Oxford-style debate is presented by the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series and the Aspen Ideas Festival.

If you are in the Aspen area and want to join the audience, there may still be tickets available through the Aspen Ideas Festival. If not, you can catch the debate live on our website.

We’re certainly expecting it to be a lively debate but hope we don’t see the types of low blows that Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson pulled this week when he derided people who are concerned about the health and environmental impacts of the gas rush as “illiterate.”

For more information and to RSVP, visit our website. And if you tune in, tell us what you thought about the debate in the comments!

I have spent quite a bit of time researching the chemicals used in fracking and it seems like the only way to get any data in bulk form on fracking chemicals disclosures is from http://pivotupstreamgroup.com/D-FRAC.aspx (D-FRAC). I tried the Frac Focus site but it will only let you have info one well at a time... and there are just too many well frackings for this. Some of the chemicals used seem benign, like guar gum, but others are known to be very toxic to the environment.

Deborah and Kate acquitted themselves quite well in last night's debate, but missed opportunities to drive home some points that blow serious holes in the fracking proponents' lame arguments, the most oft repeated ones being that gas is cleaner than coal (questionable) and that gas and coal are cheaper than wind and solar. To her credit, Deborah did mention in both opening and closing comments that we need to make the energy industries pay for carbon emissions, but she did not elaborate, and I'm not sure that there aren't a lot of people out there who do not understand how having to pay for carbon emissions would level the playing field in the energy market for more sustainable sources.

There was also no mention of how current conventional sources of domestic natural gas (which do not involve fracking) are adequate presently to meet this county's demand for the fuel. That was a pretty big omission, in my mind, since it exposes the gas industry's boom as rush for profits, not a thoughtfully considered strategy for providing for our country's energy needs.

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