Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 01/03/2011

The good news that abundant new natural gas deposits in the United States are driving down the once soaring cost of natural gas has a disturbing underbelly. Hydraulic fracturing, the unconventional method used to extract this gas is creating nightmares for people who live close to the drill sites. In extreme cases wells are being poisoned and water that comes out of the faucets in these homes can be set on fire. A groundswell of grassroots activity resulted in the New York legislature legislating a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, but New York's governor David Patterson vetoed the legislation and issued an Executive Order that calls for a temporary timeout on the most controversial drilling practices. But many environmentalist feel that his order does not go far enough.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Craig Michaels, Watershed Program Director for Riverkeeper in New York State, an organization in the forefront of halting natural gas fracking in the Northeast.

Craig Michaels manages all aspects of Riverkeeper’s Watershed Program, which uses public education, advocacy, and litigation in order to enforce environmental laws and protect the unfiltered drinking water supply for 9 million New Yorkers. Mr. Michaels returned to Riverkeeper in 2007 and as the NYC Investigator for Riverkeeper’s Hudson River program. Mr. Michaels previously worked at Riverkeeper for three years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator before entering law school. In 2007, he received his J.D. and Environmental Law Certificate from Pace Law School, where he interned for one year at the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, representing Riverkeeper and other environmental groups in administrative permit proceedings arising from a Clean Water Act citizen suit against the City of New York. Prior to interning for the Environmental Litigation Clinic, Mr. Michaels served as a Legal Aide in the Litigation Bureau at the Office of the New York State Attorney General. Mr. Michaels holds a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan.


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