Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Law, Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking), Shale Gas and the New York State Grass-Roots Anti-Fracking Citizens Group "Andes Works!"

Stanley Fish on "education, law and society" at the New York Times takes on the subject of law and shale gas in The Andes Chronicles: A Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing.

Fish, a part-time resident of the community of Andes, comments on the expansive, citizen-initiated and just promulgated local anti-fracking law of Andes in the Catskills of Delaware County, New York State, just west of Woodstock and southwest of Albany, an effort organized by a grass-roots citizens group that calls itself “Andes Works!”.

At that website at Working For a Ban the group Andes Works! offers tips to other communities on how to impose such an anti-fracking ban in their community.

See the video Andes Works' -- Fracking Ban.
See Gov. Andrew Cuomo [of New York] criticizes pro-fracking groups' strategy
See Food & Water Watch for the Anti-Fracking Movement in the USA.
See List of Bans Worldwide.

See also Ellie Wilkinson, Experts argue the pros, cons of "fracking" at Maxwell debate, Maxwell School’s Campbell Public Affairs Institute, Syracuse University.

We ourselves are in principle opponents of hydraulic fracturing near inhabited regions, also known as "fracking", because the negative consequences have not been sufficiently researched by science, the environmental harms on health, water supply and air quality remain potentially immense, and the geological impact, even leading to earthquakes, is apparently irreversible.

There is strong evidence that fracking leads to serious environmental harms.

At the same time, there is also strong indication that shale gas is becoming an increasingly important source of energy for the United States. Hence, the question does not appear to be one of prohibiting fracking generally. Rather, the question is more where hydraulic fracking can occur, and where not.

Consider the following example of what is at stake in this discussion.

We visited rural New York State a couple of years back -- and rural New York State is where they want to do expansive fracking -- and were told at Skaneateles Lake that the Lake was not only a major source of drinking water, but that the water was so clean you could drink straight from the lake without harm. As written at Wikipedia about Skaneateles Lake:
"The cleanest of the Finger Lakes, its water is so pure that the city of Syracuse and other municipalities use it unfiltered."
In our opinion, the citizens of New York State would be making a great mistake to put that kind of top environmental quality into danger just for the sake of short-term supplies of shale gas.

And thereafter, then what? 

Law, Law Schools, Nutrition and Sports: Food is the Key at Training Tables for College Athletes Throughout the Land: But What about Law Students and Other Academics?

Can "food" rather than "42" be the answer? (with apologies to Douglas Adams)

Try this essential legal and nutritional Socratic question:

Are law students
-- in my day certainly paragons of haphazard nutrition --
capable of top academic work in law school if they are inadequately fed?

Or could their learning experience by improved by better food habits?

This thought arose while pondering the current state of food, diet and nutrition in college athletics as reported by Michael Felder, National College Football Lead Writer, at Bleacher Report in

What Are College Football Players Eating at BCS Training Tables?

Indubitably, you are what you eat.

My question here of course is whether this focus on nutrition in college athletics might also be worth a perusal by those in charge of academics at colleges and universities throughout the land, as a simple means of improving academic performance among students, whose deficient nutritional habits are legion.

If good enough for student-athletes,
then why not for the student body as a whole?

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