Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 01/09/2012

2011 was the year that fracking became a household word. A little over a year ago opposition to fracking was limited to a select group of environmental activists and people unfortunate to have their water supplies contaminated by neighboring fracking operations. But by the end of the year major media was reporting on independent scientific investigations that linked fracking with water pollution. And federal and state agencies were responding to the growing apprehension about water contamination with more studies and more regulation. What has changed in the last 12 months to ratchet up opposition to this use of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from the deep recesses of shale deposits? On this episode of Locus Focus we are joined by former ProPublica reporting fellow Nicholas Kusnetz, whose articles about controversies surrounding fracking have helped reframe public understanding about the true environmental and health impacts of this practice.

Nicholas Kusnetz is a Middlebury fellow in environmental journalism and a freelance journalist. Until recently he was a reporting fellow at the online investigative journalism website ProPublica.


fracking, logging and mining in remote areas

My comment that "nobody lived there" was meant to have quotations marks around it. I hoped by the tone of my voice to convey that I don't agree with that characterization of these areas that are suffering intense abuse from the resource extractors. Because they are perceived by many to be sparsely settled - and, as I mentioned Monday, they are home to First Nations peoples who are fighting to protect their homelands, but whose concerns are generally overlooked by the general public, governments and industry - I believe that a lot of outrageous exploitation continues in the northern reaches of Alberta and British Columbia. I never intended to convey the impression that these regions are "uninhabited." That was the same ploy used by Europeans to justify conquering North America centuries ago.


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