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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Award-winning veteran journalist visits Valley to discuss issues of fracking


Award-winning veteran journalist visits Valley to discuss issues of fracking

An award-winning veteran journalist will discuss issues of fracking, 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 8, in an event sponsored by the Community Shale Network and the Carantouan Greenway at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Athens.

Dr. Walter Brasch, author of the recently-released book, “Fracking Pennsylvania,” will discuss what fracking is—and what it is not, as well as the economic, political, health, and environmental impacts. He will also discuss fracking’s impact upon people who do not live in the Marcellus Shale.
Brasch’s research into fracking had begun more than four years ago. However, it was a medical “gag order” in the legislation that led to a series of columns and then to the book, Brasch says.

In researching the book, Brasch talked with numerous persons who worked in the industry or were affected by fracking’s effects, as well as environmentalists, physicians, and scientists of several disciplines. “Although I had a background in science as an undergraduate, and as a journalist often wrote medical and science articles,” says Brasch, “the learning curve—especially trying to read and understand numerous peer-reviewed journal articles—was rather steep.” He says his responsibility was to understand—“and even question”—the research and to communicate the information to the public.

His book, says Brasch, presents some complicated issues in an easy-to-understand fashion, while also humanizing the problems. His investigation also includes tracking corporate and political connections.

“Fracking Pennsylvania” has received critical praise from environmentalists and reviewers. The MidWest Book Review says it “should be considered mandatory reading by environmentalists and politicians, but most especially by non-specialist general readers.” EcoWatch, one of the nation’s largest environmental news agencies, says the book is “a valuable contribution.”
Brasch is a former newspaper and magazine reporter and editor, former writer-producer of multimedia productions, and professor of journalism/mass communications. He is currently a syndicated social issues columnist and host of the weekly radio series, “The Frack Report.” This book is his 18th, most of which fuse history with contemporary social issues.

Among more than 200 media awards are those from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, National Federation of Press Women, Society of Professional Journalists, Associated Press Broadcasters Association, Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association, Press Club of Southern California, Pacific Coast Press Club, and California Newspaper Publishers Association. He is also the recipient of the Pennsylvania Press Club’s Communicator of Achievement award for lifetime service to journalism.

The Community Shale Network is a grassroots organization which formed in the spring of 2009 to provide information and an opportunity for public discussion on topics surrounding Shale Development in the Valley and surrounding communities. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public. 

The talk will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Athens, at 112 North Street in Athens. North Street is the one-way street off Main Street in Athens, directly across from the former Croft Ford and with Ashton Healthcare on the corner. For more information, contact Martin Borko at 607-565-2636. The views and opinions expressed at this event do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of UUCAS. 

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