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St. Mary's College to Host Panel: The Future of Fracking in the Chesapeake


February 19, 2013
Press Release #13-026

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The Center for the Study of Democracy, the St. Mary’s Watershed Association, the League of Women Voters and the Natural Science and Mathematics Colloquium will sponsor an eye-opening panel discussion entitled, “The Future of Fracking in the Chesapeake” on Monday, February 25 at 5:30 pm in Auerbach Auditorium of St. Mary’s Hall at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is promising in terms of developing domestic energy, but raises a host of concerns related to the environment. “The Future of Fracking in the Chesapeake” will be a discussion of gas extraction on the East Coast and the new gas revolution. The panel will discuss the future of fracking in Maryland, and the consequences associated with it. Michael Cain, professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary’s College, suggests that students and citizens need to think about this issue. “Fracking and the gas revolution going on the U.S. are now coming to Maryland.  Western Maryland holds considerable promise for production and although fracking may not occur in Southern Maryland, Dominion Cove Point LNG, Ltd. may well be a possible export terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG). We need to think how Maryland should weigh the benefits and risks associated with both production and export.”

The panel discussion will be anchored by a short video explaining fracking, followed by three panelists who are recognized within the environmental and hydraulic fracking communities:

  • Environmental panelist Craig Segall is Sierra Club staff attorney and its former environmental law fellow. Previously, Segall was a law clerk to the Honorable Marsha S. Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School, where he worked in Stanford's environmental law clinic to uphold environmental rights.

  • Energy panelist Drew Cobbs has been the executive director of the Maryland Petroleum Council for 18 years and API’s Eastern Region director for 11 years, overseeing 12 states from Virginia to Maine. The Maryland Petroleum Council represents energy companies in the state and lobbies on local, state and federal issues that impact them. Cobbs also handles public relations for the industry.

  • Non-profit advocacy panelist Guy Alsentzer is director of operations and staff attorney for the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, managing non-profit administration and advocacy campaigns on issues concerning water resources pollution, unsustainable energy development, and threats to imperiled species. Alsentzer also works on federal water resources and policy issues, striving for legislative and administrative changes that better protect ecological integrity.

The panel will not only discuss the politics of fracking, but will also address the environmental effects associated with the alternate oil-drilling process. Panelists will also weigh in on the importance of fracking being established in Maryland, the consequences thereof, and will answer questions from the audience. Michael Cain, director for the Center for the Study of Democracy, will moderate the panel and ask hard-hitting questions about the future of fracking in Maryland.

For ten years the Center for the Study of Democracy has been committed to promoting education and discussion on both policy and political issues of interest to St. Mary's College of Maryland and the wider Maryland community. The Center regularly hosts political discussions with government officials and political candidates, public political debates, as well as conferences and forums on important policy issues.

The Center for the Study of Democracy is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting education and discussion on both policy and political issues of interest to St. Mary’s College, Historic St. Mary’s City, and Maryland citizens.  Visit www.smcm.edu/democracy to learn more.  For more information call 240-895-4215.

This event is free and open to the public