Tonight Sandy LeonVest is joined by researcher Laura Stroup, who co-authored with Michael Finewood, the groundbreaking new report, "Fracking and the Neoliberalization of the Hydro-Social Cycle in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale."
Sandy and Laura discuss, among other issues, the ways neoliberalism is re-defining the relationships between people and the non-human world; the significance (or lack thereof) of this week's US-China climate agreement; and how "multi-scale neoliberal discourses" obfuscate a deeper understanding of the impacts of fracking on water resources -- and facillitate the normalization of a false narrative on fracking and other energy-related issues and practices.
They also discuss the huge socio-environmental costs of the current "fracking frenzy" in the US and abroad, as is so graphically illustrated in Ukraine, where the connection between neoliberal policies and the global fracking rampage is painfully apparent -- and emblematic of the larger problem.
The report states: "But more broadly, we are interested in contributing to a context-specific analysis of As market approaches to environmental regulation become a more accepted, and perhaps a dominant part of governance strategy, places like northeastern PA are ''written off for environmental destruction in the name of a higher purpose, such as the national interest" (Scott 2010, 31). These 'sacrifice zones' assume an ecological disconnect between people and their environment, normalizing environmental degradation in some places while protecting others, and also assume no alternative uses ofland or energy resources. This can be viewed as a form of remote environmental exploitation and brutality where the scalar issues make these sacrifice zones almost invisible to the larger nation and world. We feel that these struggles to (re)define the nature/ society relationship is about the power to ensure capital flows into specific hands, which will likely result in greater costs to other people and their environments. Formally investigating and deconstructing pro- fracking discourses is part of an ongoing project to come to terms with the realities involved with the transformation of the hydro social cycle and with the water-energy nexus, and to strive for a more equitable future."
(Michael H. Flnewood and Laura J. Stroup, Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA; St. Michael's College, Colchester, VT)