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Environment & Energy

Duquesne University Hosts Fracking Conference

More than two dozen researchers meet Monday at Duquesne University as part of a symposium on the latest findings regarding Marcellus Shale drilling.

Foundation-funded researchers from universities including Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Duke and Yale presented their independent research on topics such as air quality, human and animal health, effects on water treatment plants and local government response to shale gas development.

John Stolz, event organizer and director of the Duquesne University Center for Environmental Research and Education, said researchers wanted to discuss topics that “go beyond the well pad.”

“This unconventional extraction of gas and oil is becoming routine now, whether it’s in Pennsylvania and this region or out west and even off-shore,” he said, “but it really hasn’t had a good, hard look by the scientific community.”

Stolz said one of his biggest concerns are federal laws like the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which exempts gas drilling and fracking from following the restraints of the underground injection control program of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

“I think it is time that we really do need to reexamine that and why that was done in the first place,” he said. “There are air quality issues that we need to address. There’s water quality issues that we have to address. So, it’s important as we move forward.”

The free public symposium continues Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.