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Gas at a glance

October 5, 2011

Steingraber to dedicate $100,000 Heinz Award to fight hydrofracking

Ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber has been named the recipient of a Heinz Award, which comes with a $100,000 unrestricted cash prize, in recognition of her research and writing on environmental health, as reported on Truthout (www.truth-out.org/heinz-award-and-what-i-plan-do-it/1316444029). Steingraber has announced her intent to devote the award to the fight against hydrofracking in upstate New York, where she lives with her husband and their two children.

Steingraber, who is serving a residency as a scholar within the Department of Environmental Studies at Ithaca College, NY, is a bladder cancer survivor of 32 years. “Emancipation from our terrible enslavement to fossil fuels is possible,” maintains Steingraber. “The best science shows us that the United States could, within two decades, entirely run on green, renewable energy if we chose to dedicate ourselves to that course. Instead, evermore extreme and toxic methods are being deployed to blast fossilized carbon from the earth. We are blowing up mountains to get at coal, felling boreal forests to get at tar and siphoning oil from the ocean deep.

Through the process called fracking, we are shattering the very bedrock of our nation to get at the petrified bubbles of methane trapped inside. Fracking turns fresh water into poison. It fills our air with smog, our roadways with 18-wheelers hauling hazardous materials and our fields and pastures with pipelines and toxic pits. The bodies of my children are the rearranged molecules of the air, water and food streaming through them. As their mother, there is no more important investment that I could make right now than to support the fight for the integrity of the ecological system that makes their lives possible.”