Energy and the Environment: Preventing and Resolving Conflicts

Citizen David Tames Gas Goliaths on the Marcellus Shale Stage: Citizen Action as a Form of Dispute Prevention in the Internet Age

A NY colleague of ours recently published an article on the issue of natural gas drilling and public engagement in New York State. The potential for environmental and public health issues were discussed in great detail for those who are interested in becoming more versed on the topic. (FracTracker was mentioned as a tool for dispute prevention, so that is exciting for us, too!)

Article Excerpt

“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” This could soon become the lament of millions of people who derive their drinking water from sources located near the latest natural gas boom site in the East, known as the “Marcellus Shale” region. Drilling is underway in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, but not yet in New York. The focus here is New York.

Horizontal hydraulic fracturing holds promise for accessing shale gas. But with the current state of the industry practices, it also promises certain devastation to the environment and human health unless all local, state, and federal government officials immediately begin to take seriously the already documented risks associated with this unconventional drilling method. Every citizen has an interest in protecting our natural resources, water included. In this real life drama, David is played by U.S. citizens and Goliath is played by the rich and powerful oil and gas industry. Members of the oil and gas industry and land-owning citizens seeking to lease their property for gas extraction prefer the circumscribed definition of the term hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” which refers only to the actual gas drilling. Environmental groups and individuals advocating for conservation of natural resources opt for a broad interpretation of the term, reasoning that every step in the hydraulic gas drilling process is worthy of attention since adverse impacts can and do result from steps before and after the actual drilling occurs. The future environmental and human …

Published in the Spring, 2011 edition of Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. 373. by Elisabeth N. Radow

If you have a LexisNexis account, you can view the entire article online.