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Protest of the Week

There’s another gathering in Albany on Monday, April 11, to urge lawmakers to reject ther permitting of high-volume, horizontal hydrofracking of natural gas wells in New York State’s Marcellus Shale. Last winter, former Governor David Paterson put a moratorium on issuing permits for the practice, which has been blamed for contaminating surface and well water in other states; the moratorium expires in July. The protests takes place on the Capitol Lawn, 10:30am-3:30pm.

Speaking of hydrofracking, last week UB’s Department of Geology began a series of lectures on the subject. Here are the speakers:

• March 31: Rayloa Dougher, senior economic advisor to the Aperican Petroleum Institute, on the role of natural gas in US energy policy.

• April 7: Langhorne Smith, New York State Geologist, on the state’s black shale formations.

• April 14: Michael Joy, attorney, Biltekoff and Joy and adjunct professor at UB Law School, on leasing and property rights.

• April 21: Greg Sovas, president of XRM Consulting (which helps extractive industries interpret New York State environmental law) and former director of New York State DEC Division of Mineral Reserves, on state permits and regulations.

• April 28: Rich Nyahay, VP of geological exploration for the Quebec-based oil and gas company Gastem, on drilling and fracking.

• May 5: Gary Marachiori, VP of Consteallation NewEnergy, another oil and gas company, on production, pipelining, and long-term buildout.

• May 12: Roger Willis, CEO of Universal Well Services, on well completion.

• May 19: John Martin, former senior project manager for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, whose lecture is titled “Energy and the Environment: Gas and the Green Earth.”

By my count, that makes five lecturers who make their living in the industry that is lobbying relentlessly for approval to hydrofrack New York’s Marcellus Shale. They are balanced by two academics, Smith and Martin, and a lawyer, Joy, all of whom may be comparatively neutral. Who represents the critics of hydrofracking in this series?

geoff kelly

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