Duke scientist to speak on shale gas questions

Duke scientist to speak on shale gas questions

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Dr. Robert Jackson from Duke University will be speaking at Wilkes on April 7 in the Marts Center.

Shawn Carey, Correspondent

In the Grace Kimball Lecture Series, Dr. Robert Jackson will discuss research that has focused on Northeast Pennsylvania’s controversial industry.

Since 2008, Northeastern Pennsylvania has been surrounded by natural gas rigs, news articles and protests. For many, it has created more questions about natural gas and its safety has created more questions than answers.

Wilkes University Grace Kimball Lecture Series is hoping to give locals a chance to answer some of those questions by having Dr. Robert Jackson from Nicholas Chair of Global Environmental Change at Duke University speak.

For Dr. Kenneth Klemow, professor of biology says he is excited to have Jackson come to Wilkes to talk about such a pressing issue.

“I am especially proud to have Dr. Jackson come to Wilkes because he is a well-known ecologist with whom I have interacted in the past through our mutual activity in the Ecological Society of America,” Klemow said.

Jackson will be speaking about “The Environmental Costs and Benefits of Shale Gas Development.”

Much of Jackson’s research and work has been done in Northeastern Pennsylvania and been published in well-known science journals.

“Dr. Jackson is a world-renowned expert in the environmental impacts of energy development and consumption,” Klemow said. “He is especially active in helping us understand the effects of shale gas development on our environment.”

Many probably would not know what shale gas development is, but is known under a more common name of “fracking.”

For the past few years Klemow has been leading the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research to help educate individuals in the region about the benefits and risks associated with shale gas development.

Klemow says that although it is a very difficult topic, he says non-scientists are reading scientific studies in order to learn more about the process of “fracking.”

“I have been fascinated by the fact that so many non-scientists have taken the time to read his (Jackson’s) research,” Klemow said, “so his lecture at Wilkes will give attendees an opportunity to hear from him directly, and even ask him questions if they are so inclined.”

Klemow wanted to stress that although it Jackson is a scientist, his presentation is for a broad audience.

“Since energy touches on business, policy, arts, communications, history, public health, literature, and education, every student and faculty member at Wilkes should feel enticed to attend.”

The lecture will be at 8 p.m. Monday, April 7, in the Marts Center, 274 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre. The event is free and open to the public.

A question-and-answer session is planned.

“The question-and-answer session may become pretty lively, and I think may be a learning experience unto itself.”

For more information, about the Jackson lecture or the Grace Kimball Lecture Series, contact Klemow by email or his office phone, 570-408-4758.