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Howard Baker Speech John Quigley 09252012

Howard Baker Speech John Quigley 09252012

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Published by JohnHQuigley
John Quigley The Role of Science and Technology in Mitigating Risk

9/25/2012

Good morning. It’s an honor to be with you this morning, especially to participate in the Howard Baker Forum. While he was speaking of the Kyoto Treaty, the Senator could have been thinking about the opportunities and challenges presented by shale gas development when he said: The welfare of the planet and its environment is paramount. But what we do, and do equally and evenhandedly, is more difficult to identify. I w
John Quigley The Role of Science and Technology in Mitigating Risk

9/25/2012

Good morning. It’s an honor to be with you this morning, especially to participate in the Howard Baker Forum. While he was speaking of the Kyoto Treaty, the Senator could have been thinking about the opportunities and challenges presented by shale gas development when he said: The welfare of the planet and its environment is paramount. But what we do, and do equally and evenhandedly, is more difficult to identify. I w

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Published by: JohnHQuigley on Sep 26, 2012
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John Quigley
The Role of Science and Technology in Mitigating Risk
9/25/2012Howard Baker Forum 1 of 8Good morning.
It’s an honor to be with you this morning, especially to participate in the Howard Baker 
Forum. While he was speaking of the Kyoto Treaty, the Senator could have beenthinking about the opportunities and challenges presented by shale gas developmentwhen he said:
The welfare of the planet and its environment is paramount. But what we do, and doequally and evenhandedly, is more difficult to identify.
I want to share with you a perspective on the role of science and technology in mitigatingrisk in shale gas development, based on my personal background and professionalexperiences.I come from a small city in Pennsylvania's anthracite coal region. My family and I livedwith the results of irresponsible hydrocarbon extraction - the dirt black from slate; thelandscape dominated by decades-old, deep unreclaimed stripping pits and barren areas;
“forests”
that are little more than patches of scrub birch; and streams that run orange fromiron pollution or turquoise from aluminum pollution flowing from abandoned mineworkings.My hometown is like many communities that lived through the previous eras of oildrilling and coal mining in Pennsylvania, or the massive clear cutting of the forests of itsnorthern tier more than a century ago. After the prosperity faded, what was left weresevere, persistent, and costly environmental, economic, and social consequences.Rusted, shrunken communities like my home town remained caught on the downside of 
resource extraction’s
trajectory.In one form or another, I've been grappling with that history for most of my career. Aftergraduate school, my first job was as the founding head of an economic developmentagency trying to bring new businesses and jobs to my hometown. The challenge wasequal to the heights of the waste coal piles that surrounded the city.From there, I was elected
as the city’s first full
-time Mayor
 – 
either the fondest dream orthe worst nightmare of a local economic development professional. I learned in eightyears in City Hall how deep the scars of an unbridled rush for coal are, and how difficultit is to heal them. And why some communities just give up trying.As I moved on to a variety of management positions with major manufacturers, the land'sscars and the hopelessness it bred stayed with me. When the opportunity to work for astatewide NGO presented itself, I brought this perspective to Harrisburg and carried itwith me later in government service.First, as an advocate for the state's alternative energy law, and later, as chief of staff to theSecretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, I learned
 
John Quigley
The Role of Science and Technology in Mitigating Risk
9/25/2012Howard Baker Forum 2 of 8quickly that when it comes to resource development, you have as much chance of predicting the ups and downs of the business cycle as Punxsutawney Phil has of telling uswhen spring will come.Later, after being appointed by Governor Ed Rendell to be DCNR's Secretary, I took overa department whose dual mission embodied the challenges that the shale gas industry andgovernment regulators face. On the one hand, I was steward to the Commonwealth's 120state parks and managed its 2.2 million acres of state forests. On the other, to meet agenerational budget shortfall, the Legislature mandated and the Governor implemented aleasing program, and we leased 139,000 acres of state forest land for Marcellus shaledevelopment. The challenge was to develop the gas without compromising our naturalresources.Our primary goal was to come up with an approach that balanced the state's desire toexploit the resource and a science-based approach to minimize the risks created by shalegas development. Our effort had four stages.First, we worked with industry and other stakeholders to institute a new lease that
sconsidered the most protective of any public lands lease in the nation.Second, we conducted an extensive environmental review prior to offering any land forlease. This analysis identified the areas that were too environmentally sensitive todevelop, which areas could be developed with minimal impacts, and how individualleased tracts could be managed to limit impacts even further without hamperingdevelopment.But we didn't stop there. We continued to work collaboratively with our industry lesseesto develop and adopt "best management practices" and instituted an extensive monitoringprogram that
’s
become a model for other states.And finally, and despite all our best attempts to balance gas development with theecological integrity of the state forest, we concluded that even with these protections, itwas in the public's interest to limit shale gas development on Commonwealth lands. In2010 Governor Ed Rendell signed a moratorium on further leasing that has beenmaintained under current Governor Tom Corbett.These are the experiences I bring to
this morning’s talk.
I also bring the belief that shalegas
 – 
responsibly produced
 – 
offers our country and much of the world the best availabletool to reduce carbon emissions immediately to confront the challenge of our time
 – 
 climate disruption. Unconventional drilling techniques have the potential to improve thepublic's health, cut our self-defeating reliance on coal and to build economic prosperity,manufacturing resurgence, and energy security. Coupled with aggressive renewableenergy development, shale gas can provide a path to sustainable growth.And one thing more.
 
John Quigley
The Role of Science and Technology in Mitigating Risk
9/25/2012Howard Baker Forum 3 of 8When it comes to a discussion of shale gas, I come from a state where gas is demonizedby opponents; industry assures us that all is well, and shoddy operator performance givesus the tragedy of Dimock 
.
Meanwhile, the scars of my home town come back to me with every news article or blogthat I read.
In the din of Pennsylvania’s
latest resource boom, we must hear GeorgeSantayana
’s admonition: “
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
 
Science and technology -
and a few other things I’ll talk about – 
can help us to avoid thatfate.
I’m sure you’ve
already noticed that there
’s
nothing in my background that hints aboutscientific expertise.
I’ve
directed technology efforts
 – 
from MIS to IT to LiDAR imagingto seismic studies - in past jobs; and I
’ve
worked with accomplished chemists, engineers,biologists, and geologists. But I will offer as technocratic qualifications for my topictoday what Bob Dylan so famously said:
"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." 
There’s a lot about science, technology, and risk in the shale gas
universe that, if you justhold your finger up into the social and political winds, becomes just as obvious.A central tenet of a balanced shale gas development policy is that technology and scienceprovide us with tools to mitigate risk. But an initial question
hasn’t been
answered: Doesgas drilling make people sick?We do know that it fuels fierce debates, public angst and moratoria on drilling here, in theEU, and other nations with shale gas deposits. Just a week after South Africa lifted its banon shale gas drilling, its Water Research Commission
warned of “serious risk” of water 
pollution from cancer-causing chemicals and radioactive contaminants associated withfracking.State and national advisory committees here are looking at the question, but public healthexperts have been missing from the table. This year the U.S. House of Representativesfailed to support a request to fund $4.25 million in research on how drilling may affectwater quality. At the state level, the Pennsylvania General Assembly stripped out $2million of funding for statewide tracking of illnesses potentially related to gas drilling.So we have a vacuum. And what rushes in to fill it? Fear. Emotion. Protests.Heartbreaking anecdotes of illnesses in the gas fields. Rushes to judgment. Moratoria.Without a healthy dose of science, the question of whether gas drilling makes people sick w
on’t
go away; people may suffer avoidable harms; and the industry will face continued

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