TALKING LEAVES TO HOST REPORT TOM WILBER, WHOSE JUST RELEASED UNDER THE SURFACE IS THE FIRST BOOK-LENGTH LOOK AT FRACKING, ON THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 7 PM.
BUFFALO, NY - Journalist Tom Wilber will stop in Buffalo on Thursday, June 14, at 7 p.m. at Talking Leaves…Books on Main Street to talk about his just released book, Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale (Cornell University Press), the first full-length, in depth look at the controversial practice of hydro-fracking. The event is free and open to the public. As always, anyone interested in having a book signed by the author is expected to purchase it from Talking Leaves, as an acknowledgement of support for the author, publisher, and bookstore who make his visit possible. We always encourage a voluntary donation at our events for the Give for Greatness campaign in support of the arts and cultural organizations of Buffalo and Erie County.
Fracking continues to monopolize headlines these days, especially in New York and Pennsylvania, center of the Marcellus Shale. Tom Wilber has spent years interviewing key players and local residents on all sides of the Marcellus Shale issue, first as a reporter covering business, health, and environmental issues for Gannett Corporation's Central New York Newspaper Group and later while preparing his brand new book, which he will discuss at this event.Wilber's is the first book-length journalistic overview of shale gas development and the many controversies surrounding it.
Running from southern West Virginia through eastern Ohio, across central and northeast Pennsylvania, and into New York through the Southern Tier and the Catskills, the Marcellus Shale formation underlies a sparsely populated region that features striking landscapes, critical watersheds, and a struggling economic base. It also contains one of the world's largest supplies of natural gas, a resource that has been dismissed as inaccessible—until recently. Technological developments that combine horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing have removed physical and economic barriers to extracting hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of gas from bedrock deep below the Appalachian basin. Beginning in 2006, the first successful Marcellus gas wells by Range Resources, combined with a spike in the value of natural gas, spurred a modern-day gold rush—a "gas rush"—with profound ramifications for environmental policy, energy markets, political dynamics, and the lives of the people living in the Marcellus region. Under the Surface is the first book-length journalistic overview of shale gas development and the controversies surrounding it.Control over drilling rights is at stake in the heart of Marcellus country—northeast Pennsylvania and central New York. The decisions by landowners to work with or against the companies—and the resulting environmental and economic consequences—are scrutinized by neighbors faced with similar decisions, by residents of cities whose water supply originates in the exploration area, and by those living across state lines with differing attitudes and policies concerning extraction industries. Wilber's evenhanded treatment gives a voice to all constituencies, including farmers and landowners tempted by the prospects of wealth but wary of the consequences, policymakers struggling with divisive issues, and activists coordinating campaigns based on their respective visions of economic salvation and environmental ruin. Wilber describes a landscape in which the battle over the Marcellus ranges from the very local—yard signs proclaiming landowners' allegiances for or against shale gas development—to often conflicting municipal, state, and federal legislation intended to accelerate, delay, or discourage exploration.
Under the Surface is all about energy. First, it is about this nation's insatiable appetite for it, which has led to perilous undertakings like shale extraction, with its enormous economic, environmental, political, and personal repercussions. But it is also about a reporter's seemingly limitless supply of energy. Fracking shatters subterranean rocks to release precious natural gas; Under the Surface represents a kind of reportorial fracking, in which the indefatigable Wilber bores in to extract how the process has had an impact on the lives of those atop or near that gas. While his focus is on upstate New York and Pennsylvania, this is a story that concerns us all."—David Margolick, contributing editor, Vanity Fair, and author of Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock.
For millions of people with a direct stake in shale gas exploration in the Marcellus or any number of other emerging shale resources in the United States and worldwide, or for those concerned about the global energy outlook, Under the Surface offers a worthwhile and engaging look at the issues.
"With a journalist's command of the facts and a novelist's eye for his subjects, Tom Wilber takes us to the living rooms, farms, meeting halls, and mountain streams where the fracking drama plays out daily. This is the grimy side of the American Dream, twenty-first century style—the economy vs. the environment, energy vs. water, human vs. corporation. Wilber spent more than three years researching and writing this book. His ease of storytelling, language, and explanation are a welcome guide through a complex topic. Alongside the land rush, gold rush, railroad boom, and oil boom, Under the Surface is an essential chapter in an American story that too often pits homestead and community against the building of the nation."—John Cronin, senior fellow at Pace and Clarkson Universities, former Hudson Riverkeeper, and coauthor of The Riverkeepers.