News / Science & Technology

    Environmental Prize Winner Opposes Fracking

    Environmental Prize Winner Opposes Frackingi
    X
    Deborah Block
    May 08, 2014 11:42 PM
    This year’s North American Goldman Environmental Prize winner used legal means to ban hydraulic fracturing in parts of central New York state. Fracking, as it is known, is a controversial method to extract natural gas and other fossil fuels. Anti-fracking activists say the technique hurts the environment, while the petroleum industry maintains fracking is safe. VOA’s Deborah Block looks at both sides of the debate.
    Deborah Block
    This year’s North American Goldman Environmental Prize winner used legal means to ban hydraulic fracturing in parts of central New York state.

    Fracking, as it is known, is a controversial method to extract natural gas and other fossil fuels. Anti-fracking activists say the technique hurts the environment, while the petroleum industry maintains fracking is safe. 

    Goldman award winner Helen Slottje is a lawyer in a mostly rural area of New York with small towns. She’s against fracking, which involves deep drilling through shale rock and pumping down a pressurized mix of water and chemicals to release natural gas.   

    Slottje volunteered to build a case against an industrial complex being constructed by a fracking company. While the company won the case, Slottje learned that local laws could stop fracking and she used that as a weapon to help ban fracking in several towns. Today, more towns in New York state have passed local laws prohibiting fracking.

    Slottje’s crusade began after attending a local meeting, where she saw photos of destruction caused by fracking in nearby Pennsylvania.

    “The chemical pits, with the drill cuttings and the flowback water, cleared tree areas, swaths of forests that were just clear-cut for pipelines, for well pads,” she said.

    But Steve Everley, a spokesman for the education arm of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, says, although there are risks, they are manageable.

    “Everything is safely managed through the multiple layers of steel casing and cement that goes into creating a well. You’ve got anywhere between five and seven layers that protect what’s inside the pipe from what’s outside of it.  I chiefly mean groundwater supplies,” he said.

    But Slottje thinks fracking is harmful and says about one-third of the wells fail.

    “These are our water supplies we’re talking about drilling through in large number.  And in addition, there are methane emissions, and emitting all of this methane, such a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, is very disruptive,” she said.

    But Everley points out that studies have shown that fracking actually helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions. He says fracking should also continue because it provides jobs and energy security. Slottje, however, says fracking should be stopped permanently.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Maeda Atsukoh from: AKB, TKO
    May 04, 2014 7:17 PM
    If you say stop tracking, you should stop using energy that produced by these technologies and go back to the old life using woods for energy !

    by: andrewborovskikh@gmail.co
    May 04, 2014 12:23 PM
    Carry on, Stottje! I hear the US national economy builds up energy supply from renewable sources one per cent annually under Barack Obama. Carry on! This is the right way for the whole humanity. As for jobs: Those who think fracking provides good jobs, – it’s over the left: it provides junk jobs only. Those who still are deluded, mind the Russia and other mining economies’ example please: the prevailing extractive industries establish the extremely low wages-background in the whole mining economy. Oil and gas profits flow even past those workers who work at the rigs. Simple labor is always low-paid! And under this low-wages background, even the programmers and engineers with car-making companies are underpaid in the country, even though the Russian government does have the good will to buoy up the common-people wages. Sure, extractive industries in the US are far from creating the wages background in the whole economy, and yet they pose danger even here.
    Still one thing: people are still better then they are commonly thought. A car powered by the rooftop solar panel is going to be pretty expensive as yet. And yet it poses a yam-yam even for a common employee: BECAUSE IT DOES NOT SPOIL THIS PLANET. Believe me, it’s not a joke. It’s still one catalyst for this national economy, or it’s going to be the one soon.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora