Hydrofracking speaker coming to campus

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By Kyle Lanzit

Local journalist and author Tom Wilber will visit Union next week to discuss the future of shale gas development in New York and to promote his new book, Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale.

As a part of his spring tour of New York and Pennsylvania, Wilber will speak in the Nott Memorial on Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m. The publisher, Cornell University Press, claims that Wilber’s Under the Surface is the first book-length journalistic overview of shale gas development and the controversies surrounding it.

Wilber has been in the newspaper business for more than 20 years, including 17 years with the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin, covering business, health,and environment beats.

He has reported on shale gas development in New York and Pennsylvania since 2008 and he was among the first reporters to provide daily coverage of events in Dimock, Pennsylvania, which have since become iconic of the national controversy over fracking.

For his coverage, he won top honors in “Best of Gannett” beat reporting in 2010, an award in the journalism field.

Wilber’s talk, “The Future of Shale Gas Development in New York,” looks at the many issues unfolding in the legislative, executive and judicial branches, as well as market conditions that will influence shale gas development in years to come.

Wilber offers an overview of what is known about the geology of the Marcellus and Utica shale formations extending under the northeast, the contrasting mineral extraction cultures and histories in New York and Pennsylvania that have shaped events in those states, and analysis of the anti-fracking movements’ influence on current and developing national policy.

He will also talk about his new book, which recounts Marcellus shale development through a narrative featuring various stakeholders in New York and Pennsylvania.

Wilber holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rochester and a M.A. in journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School.

He has taught various journalism courses as an adjunct at Binghamton University, and resides in the town of Union, New York.

The event is hosted by Union College’s Environmental Club and co-sponsored by Ozone House and the Geology Club. Copies of the book will be available for sale on-site. The talk is open to the public.

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