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State geologist under fire for pro-fracking remarks

fracking_Marcellus Protest.jpg
Marcellus Protest
via Flickr
Critics of hydrofracking have come down hard on a state geologist for remarks he made to the Times Union.

New York State geologist Taury Smith is feeling the heat from positive remarks he made about hydrofracking to the Times Union, reports James Odato (the same reporter who extracted those controversial remarks).  Odato writes that Taury's employer, the state education department, has clamped down on him, barring him from speaking to reporters.  And critics say that Smith is in bed with energy firms:

Smith's new critics point to his name on the website of Ammonite Resources as a senior consultant. Ammonite President G. Warfield "Skip" Hobbs explains that Smith has never performed any work for the company and was never paid for any association with his firm. He has been on hand in case a project somewhere in the world demanding his geologic expertise arose. He said people taking shots at Smith are involved in "character assassination." "We don't market ourselves to the fracking industry," he said. His company helps prospective investors in natural resources development projects. Clients tend to be Wall Street firms or insurance companies that want help conducting due diligence. Ammonite offers independent analysis on the potential of projects. Smith, he said, made it clear he would do no projects in New York or along the Pennsylvania border area.

Bucknell University has unveiled a database of "the most reputable" information published about the Marcellus Shale, according to the school's press room:

"As the database grows, it will also include more references to publications that are not directly related to the Marcellus Shale," [Bucknell geology professor Carl] Kirby added. "Such publications might feature other unconventional gas extraction such as the Barnett Shale, hydraulic fracturing, potential health issues, or address socioeconomic changes in energy boom towns." The database is intended to serve the public as well as regulators, industry, citizens' groups and academics who want to know more about the background and potential impact of the development of this resource.

Great Lakes wind

It's just about time for the New York Power Authority to announce where it's planning to build the world's first freshwater offshore wind project (based on timelines provided by the agency).  Energy attorney Todd Griset has a primer on the "Great Lakes Offshore Wind" (GLOW) project at Offshore Wind Wire.

Renewed interest in renewables

Nancy Folbre, an econ professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst has a post up at the New York Times' Economix blog arguing that nuclear power should be cast aside in favor of renewables:

NC Warn, a nonprofit clean-energy group in North Carolina, has published a report contending that electricity from new solar installations in the state is now cheaper than electricity from proposed new nuclear plants. Still, the big question remains. Can wind, water and solar power be scaled up in cost-effective ways to meet our energy demands, freeing us from dependence on both fossil fuels and nuclear power? Yes, they can, say two highly respected scientists, Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford University and Mark A. Delucchi of the University of California, Davis. In 2009 they published “A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet With Renewables” in Scientific American.

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