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ESF Graduate Program Co-sponsors Marcellus Shale ‘Hydrofracking’ Panel

Panel discussion will address horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and its environmental science graduate program will sponsor a panel discussion March 1 about horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as "hydrofracking," which is proposed for areas in Upstate New York.

The discussion will begin at 5 p.m. Monday, March 1, in Marshall Hall Auditorium on the ESF campus.

Shale formations extend deep underground from Ohio and West Virginia northeast into Pennsylvania and southern New York. Experts estimate these formations have the potential to produce trillions of cubic feet of natural gas for New York. Drilling has been proposed for various shale formations in the state.

Panelists for the discussion are:

  • Joe Heath, general counsel for the Onondaga Nation. Heath has worked with the Onondaga Nation since 1982 and has been an attorney since 1975. His work with the Nation centers on environmental protection, particularly under the Clean Water Act, focusing on Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Creek.
  • Katherine Nadeau of Environmental Advocates of New York. Nadeau is water and natural resources program associate for Environmental Advocates. She led the campaign for the passage of the Community Preservation Act and was instrumental in garnering support for The Great Lakes Compact. She works on Great Lakes issues, open space preservation and water quality issues.
  • David Palmerton, president of the Palmerton Group, LLC. Palmerton worked for the natural gas drilling industry for seven years. As CEO and founder of Palmerton Environmental Consulting Services, he works with small-business owners as well as Fortune 100 companies.
  • Adam Schultz, partner with Gilberti Stinziano Heintz & Smith, P.C. Schultz works with industrial and commercial manufacturers, energy producers, commercial and residential developers, waste disposal and landfill operators, salt producers, road building and natural resources extraction companies to understand their operations, plans and needs to develop a plan of action to secure, prosecute, and defend their right-to-build.
  • Donald Siegel, professor of earth sciences at Syracuse University. Siegel published the first paper that demonstrated natural hydrofracking through fractures in thousands of feet of tight shale by over-pressured water under glaciers. He sits on a panel evaluating the environmental effects of coal-bed methane production throughout the United States.

The moderator will be Chris Bolt of WAER radio, FM 88.3.

"This event is valuable because it's the first, as far as I know, that hosts the different sides of this hot topic in the same room," said Melody Kight, an attorney and ESF instructor who teaches a water law course at the college. "They will be forced to respond to each other's arguments."