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KNOXVILLE— A Duke University professor will be at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Thursday to kick off this semester’s energy-environmental forum with a discussion of the link between the “hydrofracking” method of shale gas extraction and methane contamination of drinking water.

Rob Jackson will present a forty-five-minute talk on “Shale Gas and Its Environmental Footprint” and then lead a group discussion at the Baker Center Interdisciplinary Group on Energy and Environmental Policy. The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 3.30 pm in the Toyota Auditorium of the Baker Center, 1640 Cumberland Avenue.

The Baker Center discussion forum is an opportunity for academics to share their research findings to a broad set of academics, researchers, and students from outside their own discipline but who have a common interest in environmental and energy issues. Each semester, about a half-dozen speakers from fields such as ecology, economics, urban planning, atmospheric chemistry, and sociology are invited to make presentations. For more information, visit the forum’s website:

Jackson researches the interactions between people and the earth, including studies of the global carbon and water cycles and energy and environment issues, such as shale gas extraction. He is director of Duke’s Center on Global Change and Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry Laboratory. He also directs the Department of Energy-funded National Institute for Climatic Change Research for the southeastern U.S. and co-directed the Climate Change Policy Partnership, working with energy and utility corporations to find practical strategies to combat climate change. Most recently, he co-chaired the new US Carbon Cycle Science Plan, which outlines a research agenda for the coming decade.

Unconventional gas extraction from shale formations, called “hydraulic fracturing” or “fracking,” is growing rapidly. Jackson will present the results of the first peer-reviewed study showing an apparent link between methane contamination in drinking water wells and hydrofracking.

UT faculty members who are part of the forum include Paul Armsworth of the College of Arts and Sciences; Jacob LaRiviere of the College of Business Administration; Becky Jacobs of the College of Law; and Chris Clark of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

C O N T A C T :

Nissa Dahlin-Brown (865-974-8681,