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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid