Almost a year after a $1 million grant was awarded to the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), an organization Wilkes is involved in, the university has made great strides in researching and informing the public about drilling in the Marcellus formation.
Intense debates have risen as to whether or not the drilling is negatively affecting the surrounding area.
“People say, ‘Are you pro-drilling or anti-drilling?’” explained Dr. Ken Klemow, a biology professor at Wilkes and the associate director of the IEER. “Well, neither. What we are is pro-science, and pro-the application of good science, to good decision-making.”
Klemow believes that education is key in moving forward with this project.
“It’s important for us to capitalize and use our expertise to be able to teach the community, but also to teach our students,” said Klemow.
Christa Filipkowski, a senior biology major at Wilkes University, is one of three students working with the IEER on the institute’s website.
“It’s about knowing how to find the research,” said Filipkowski, who described the website to contain summaries, videos, lectures, abstracts and peer-reviewed articles, among other forms of research.
Another objective relating to this is tying energy-related material into the university’s curriculum, such as courses, small programs or concentrations regarding energy. The programs, according to Klemow, would attract a whole new group of students who normally would not look into applying to Wilkes.
Furthermore, Filipkowski clarified that this “different avenue” could assist people who are interested in researching other energy sources, not strictly natural gas.
“Energy issues transcend any one discipline,” Klemow said. “It’s not just science, it’s not just policy, it’s everything. We have a lot of resources that we can draw from.”
Klemow is hopeful that in the near future, Wilkes University will be able to make even larger contributions to the field of energy and more specifically, Marcellus Shale drilling, along with other issues in the environment.
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