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An old technique to tap a veritable sea of natural gas has ignited new controversy in the news, at regulatory agencies, and in the courts. Hydraulic fracturing, applied in a novel way to shale and other dense mineral formations, has unlocked natural-gas potential in the United States and other parts of the world that have historically been considered poor prospects for producing their own fossil fuels. But concerns have arisen that hydraulic fracturing could contaminate groundwater and pollute the air, and environmental groups worry that the chemicals used in "fracking" could lead to greater exposure to toxic substances. AEI is pleased to host a panel discussion to weigh the pros and cons of hydraulic fracturing, a technology that--depending on which side of the debate you fall on--is either our saving energy grace or a troubling new threat to environmental quality.
KENNETH P. GREEN, AEI
RONALD BAILEY, Reason Magazine
MARK BROWNSTEIN, Environmental Defense Fund
TIMOTHY J. CONSIDINE, University of Wyoming
AMY MALL, Natural Resources Defense Council
KENNETH P. GREEN, AEI
Question and Answer
Kenneth P. Green is a resident scholar at AEI and the interim director of AEI's Center for Regulatory Studies. For more than sixteen years, he has studied public policy involving risk, regulation, and the environment at public policy research institutions across North America. He has twice served as an expert reviewer for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is a frequent contributor to AEI's Energy and Environment Outlook series.
Ronald Bailey is the award-winning science correspondent for Reason magazine and Reason.com, where he writes a weekly science and technology column. He is the author of Liberation Biology: The Moral and Scientific Case for the Biotech Revolution (Prometheus, 2005), and his work was featured in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004. Before joining Reason in 1997, Mr. Bailey produced several weekly national public-television series, including Think Tank and TechnoPolitics, as well as several documentaries for PBS and ABC News. In 1993, he was the Warren T. Brookes Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Mark Brownstein is deputy director of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) national energy program. He leads EDF's efforts on smart-grid deployment, transmission development, wholesale and retail electric market design, and the environmentally sustainable siting of both renewable and conventional utility scale generation. Before joining EDF, Mr. Brownstein was director of enterprise strategy for the Public Service Enterprise Group, where he worked directly with senior leadership in crafting and implementing the corporation's business strategy. He was also an active member of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Air Act Advisory Committee and New Jersey's Renewable Energy Task Force.
Timothy J. Considine is a professor of energy economics at the School of Energy Resources, University of Wyoming, and director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy. Before joining the university in August 2008, Mr. Considine worked at Pennsylvania State University, Bank of America, and the Congressional Budget Office.
Amy Mall is a senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Her work focuses on promoting responsible energy development and protecting the wildest places in the Rocky Mountain region. She has been with NRDC for ten years. Before joining NRDC, she was an adviser to the director of the White House National Economic Council during the Clinton administration. She has worked in county, state, and federal government, including the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and former New York governor Mario Cuomo.