Sunday, August 21, 2022

Inside Climate News: Q/A: Eliza Griswold Reflects On Her Book - A Deep Dive Into Fracking In Southwest PA And How Extractive Industries ‘Gut’ Communities

By David Shribman, Former Editor Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This article first appeared on Inside Climate News on August 21, 2022--

Extractive industries, she says, “gut” communities. But at least in Pennsylvania, “we're talking about individuals and communities making decisions…and that is a good model for the rest of the country.”

With all eyes on Pennsylvania this election season as progressive Democrats square off with Donald Trump-endorsed Republicans in races for governor and the U.S. Senate, the issue of fracking is far from dominating debate.
The Republicans, like their patron, the former president, can’t get enough of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, in which water and chemicals are injected into cracks in the Marcellus Shale to force out massive quantities of natural gas, while the Democrats walk a fine line between jobs and the environment and say as little about fracking as they can get away with. 

Pennsylvania is second only to Texas in natural gas production. 

But for voters interested in understanding the state’s fracking boom, there is no more telling source on either the environmental costs of fracking, or the nuanced politics of natural gas extraction than Eliza Griswold’s 2018 book, “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America.” 

In awarding “Amity and Prosperity” the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, the Pulitzer Board’s citation called the book “a classic American story, grippingly told, of an Appalachian family struggling to retain its middle class status in the shadow of destruction wreaked by corporate fracking.”

Griswold, whose previous book, “The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam,” won the J. Anthony Lukas Prize, spent seven years reporting on the story of Stacey Haney, a single mother in Washington County, Pennsylvania. 

Haney would reluctantly come to allege in a civil lawsuit that a fracker had sickened her and her two children, polluted her water, destroyed her farm and poisoned her neighbors’ farm animals. 

“Five years into my reporting, just over 60 percent of voters in Washington County cast their ballots for Donald Trump,” Griswold writes in the book of the 2016 election. “Reporters flooded rural America to profile the Trump voter, an enterprise that risked reducing sophisticated points of view to sound bites and missing the larger story of a complex American landscape. This is the story of those Americans who’ve wrestled with the price their communities have long paid so the rest of us can plug in our phones.”

Last week, I interviewed Griswold about what she discovered in following the lives of Haney and her children and reporting on litigation that spanned five years, produced thousands of pages of records and resulted in a settlement that was far from a Hollywood ending. 

Click Here to read the full interview.


-- Post-Gazette: Drilling Down Into PA’s Fracking Legacy With Eliza Griswold

Related Articles - Health Impacts Of Oil & Gas Facilities:

-- Yale School Of Public Health Study Found PA Children 2 To 3 Times More Likely To Be Diagnosed With Leukemia If They Live Near Unconventional Shale Gas Facilities  [PaEN]

-- Environmental Health Project: Setback Distances And The Regulations We Need To Protect Public Health From Oil & Gas Facilities

-- Environmental Health Project: PA’s Natural Gas Boom - What Went Wrong? Why Does It Matter?  What Can We Do Better To Protect Public Health?  [PaEN]

-- Senate Hearing: Body Of Evidence Is 'Large, Growing,’ ‘Consistent’ And 'Compelling' That Shale Gas Development Is Having A Negative Impact On Public Health; PA Must Act [PaEN]

-- Environmental Health Project: Asthma And Air Pollution From Natural Gas Drilling/Facilities  [PaEN]

-- Evangelical Environmental Network Opposes House Resolution Disapproving Of Final Reg. Reducing VOC/Methane Emissions From Unconventional Oil & Gas Facilities  [PaEN]

-- Environmental Health Project: Public Health Impacts Of Blue Hydrogen Production, Health, Environmental Protections Needed -- By Alison L. Steele, Executive Director  [PaEN]

-- Environmental Health Project Profile: Dr. John Stolz, Duquesne University - Monitoring Impact Of Shale Gas Extraction On Private Water Wells, Groundwater In SW PA  [PaEN]

-- Environmental Health News: PFAS, With Possible Link To Oil & Gas Drilling, Found In Washington County Water Supply By University Of Pittsburgh

-- Penn State Study: Potential Pollution Caused By Road Dumping Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater Makes It Unsuitable For A Dust Suppressant, Washes Right Off The Road Into The Ditch  [PaEN]

-- Conventional Oil & Natural Gas Drilling: An Industrial Machine Moving Across The PA Countryside Leaving Behind Big Liabilities & Spreading Pollution Everywhere It Goes  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- Conventional Oil & Gas Drillers Want To Rewrite Penn State Study Showing Their Drilling Wastewater Dumped On Roads Is Bad For Human Health, Environment  [PaEN]

-- DEP: Conventional Oil & Gas Driller Compliance Review Will Go Back At Least 5 Years; Whether It Will Be Public Document Not Decided  [PaEN]

-- Yale School Of Public Health Study Found PA Children 2 To 3 Times More Likely To Be Diagnosed With Leukemia If They Live Near Unconventional Shale Gas Facilities  [PaEN]

-- Climate Wire: New Federal Climate, Energy Law Includes New $700 Million Grant Program To Mitigate Methane Emissions From Conventional Oil & Gas Wells   [PaEN]

-- Grant Township Charter Banning Drilling Wastewater Injection Wells Struck Down By State Court; Decision Appealed To PA Supreme Court  [PaEN]

-- PA PUC: Cost Of Natural Gas Provided By Major Utilities In PA Increased As Much As 154% Over Last Year  [PaEN]

-- Independent Fiscal Office Reports Decline In PA Natural Gas Production For 2nd Quarter In A Row For First Time; But An Increase In New Wells Drilled  [PaEN]

-- New Poll: Strong Majority Of PA Voters Support Climate Action To Cut Carbon and Methane Pollution  [PaEN]

-- DEP Suspending Enforcement Of Certain Vapor Leak Monitoring For Small Gasoline Storage Tanks In Philadelphia, Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley Areas  [PaEN]

-- PA Supreme Court: Accounting Required For Environmental Rights Amendment Trust Fund Money From State Forest Oil & Gas Drilling - By John C. Dernbach, Commonwealth Law School, Widener University   [PaEN]

[Posted: August 21, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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