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Fracking: Challenges and Opportunities (NJIT Technology & Society Forum)

A technology vital for tapping much-needed energy or one that's environmentally destructive? That's the question a panel of experts will explore at the Technology and Society Forum session on fracking. Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, injects fluid underground at high pressure to fracture rock formations in order to extract previously inaccessible oil and gas. Opponents point to the negatives, including groundwater contamination, risks to air quality, and migration of toxic chemicals to the surface.

The panel looking at both sides of fracking will be chaired by Michel Boufadel, NJIT professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the university's Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection. Boufadel's wide range of environmental research includes assessing effects of the the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska and the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

Panelist Fred Baldassare is a senior geoscientist at ECHELON Applied Geoscience Consulting as well as the owner of the practice. He has been a leader in applying isotope geochemistry to identification of the source and type of gases in soils, aquifers and other geologic features of the Appalachian Basin.

Tracy Carluccio is assistant director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN), a nonprofit whose staff and volunteers work throughout the entire Delaware River Watershed. DRN is engaged in environmental advocacy, volunteer monitoring, stream-restoration assistance and educational initiatives.

Daniel Soeder is a scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory in West Virginia. His research interests include geology, energy and environmental issues related to unconventional fossil fuel resources such as shale gas, oil shale, enhanced oil recovery, and the geological sequestration of carbon dioxide. Event was held April 10, 2013 at NJIT, Newark, New Jersey

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