A Wealth of Scientific Resources on Hydraulic Fracturing
August 5, 2013
Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) is dedicated to supplying sound, evidence-based, scientific information and resources on energy policy choices including those involving shale gas and tight oil development (i.e. hydraulic fracturing) and the transition to renewable energy portfolios. PSE's mission is to bring scientific transparency to important energy policy issues surrounding such methods, helping to level the playing field for citizens, advocacy groups, the media, policymakers, and politicians. PSE is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of physicians, scientists and engineers, many of whom are affiliated with major research universities. We have offices in Ithaca, NY, New York City, NY, and Berkeley, CA and have affiliates throughout the United States and the European Union.
The PSE team communicates peer-reviewed science and public health research to a wide audience of people working to ensure better energy policy decisions. PSE asserts that policy issues are largely determined and effected by the scientific community, the media, advocacy groups, and other members of the public that push policy makers to make more informed decisions. Thus, we engage with all of these communities in order to bring the best, most up-to-date scientific information to where energy policy decisions are deliberated and made.
We approach our work with a three-pronged strategy:
- We Generate research that fills critical information gaps,
- We Translate the state of the science on energy development processes into forms that are easily integrated into the platforms of policy makers, advocates, and the scientific community
- We Disseminate this translated science to where energy decisions are made.
In turn, our activities are varied and far-reaching. Some examples of what we do are as follows:
- Present to groups on the public health, climate, environmental, and technological dimensions of energy choices, especially oil and gas production using hydraulic fracturing.
- Answer technical questions about energy choices, policies, and regulations internationally.
- Interact with the media through interviews, op-eds, teleconferences, and press releases.
- Engage in strategic planning with energy policy-focused organizations to help to bolster their activities with sound, understandable, and useful science.
- Provide oral and written testimony to state assemblies and legislative bodies.
- Publish peer-reviewed studies and commentaries on novel energy production.
- Write public letters to government officials on policy and the state of science surrounding energy decisions.
PSE Scientific Resources
In order to provide the most transparent and rigorous scientific information to constituents involved in energy policy decision-making efforts, we provide a well-organized, deep body of scientific resources for public consumption on our website in the form of a peer-reviewed literature library. This library is kept up-to-date in order to serve as a resource to anybody who wishes to become better informed on cutting-edge science. Each library resource is accompanied with descriptions of its main findings in order to facilitate comprehension of the science for our visitors.
We also further translate the science surrounding high-volume hydraulic fracturing and shale gas and tight oil development into science summaries, which are in the form of tri-fold pamphlets that rapidly convey the most current and salient scientific information on environmental, public health and climate dimensions of shale gas and tight oil development.
Another resource to educate the public and medical professionals about the health dimensions of shale gas development with high-volume hydraulic fracturing is our Continuing Medical Education Program (CME), which can also be accessed on YouTube. Every medical professional is mandated to earn a certain number of continuing medical education credits per year. PSE, along with the Medical Society of the State of New York, became accredited to issue CME modules that participants can watch for credit. This program not only provides education for the medical community, but also serves as a resource to anyone who wants more scientific information on the health dimensions of shale gas and tight oil development.
Responsible Energy Policy Development: Looking forward
Few argue against the fact that scientific information is a vital component of responsible policy- making, yet it is apparent that science is increasingly not taken into consideration or fully understood by those who deliberate energy policy decisions.
There are three reasons why science is marginalized in the process of policy decision-making:
- The science in its current form is not perceived as comprehensive and relevant;
- The science is unfamiliar to policymakers;
- The science is not available to channels involved in the deliberation of policy choices.
Policymakers are not scientists; they are not trained to understand science and often do not make science-bolstered decisions unless others convince them to do so. PSE understands that policy is not created by policymakers alone, but rather by a broader network of actors and interests including industry, advocates, academics, and the media. We work to ensure that these broader sectors have access to understandable scientific resources in order to make more environmentally sound and health-protective decisions.
Science only helps to ensure better policy decisions when it is available to and in formats that are recognizable and understood by those that work on these issues. PSE works to ensure that these criteria are met in order to support more sustainable and healthy energy choices now and into the future.