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May 30, 2013

Anti-fracking advocate welcomes critics

Cornell prof to speak tonight

Industry groups promoting shale gas drilling have had more than a few bones to pick with Cornell University engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea. His reaction is: Bring it on.

A thorn-in-the-side for groups such as America’s Natural Gas Alliance, Ingraffea is set to give a lecture at 7 p.m. today at Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center in Oneonta. The lecture is titled, “Why Not Shale Gas in New York.”

In an interview Wednesday, Ingraffea said his goal will be to get his audience to think about why they either believe natural gas development will be a positive event for New York or why they think it will have negative consequences.

“I intend to give a very science based presentation, as I always do,” he said. “I will first explain what is necessary from an industrial point of view to make shale gas production in a place like New York profitable. There are certain things they have to do in a certain way because, otherwise, it doesn’t work. Once people understand what the whole technology landscape is, they can begin to see what the benefits might be and what the problems might be.”

After Ingraffea published scientific research warning of the environmental damage caused by hydraulic fracturing of shale deposits, the industry lambasted the award-winning researcher and his work, calling him an activist and his conclusions misleading.

Asked how it makes him feel to be the target of such jabs from the industry he has criticized, Ingraffea said: “Great!”

“I don’t like to be called what they call me,” said Ingraffea, a former engineer for Grumman Aerospace Corp. who has taught at Cornell since 1977. “But I take great energy from it because they are spending a lot of time and money trying to discredit me. It must mean I’m talking about something very important that they don’t like.”

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