Three-part community forum on fracking begins Tuesday, Oct. 30

Fracking, the controversial technology for opening natural gas deposits, will be the focus of a three-part Community Environmental Forum series beginning on Tuesday, October 30, at 5:30 p.m. in room 1106 of the Mechanical Engineering Building.

“Fracking: The Wisconsin Connection” will explore topics including the process of fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing), why Wisconsin is the leading producer of sand for fracking, the economic and environmental impacts of sand mining, and the role fracking plays in the overall energy economy.

Speakers for the first session, titled “Fracking 101,” will be Alan Carroll, a UW-Madison professor of geoscience, and James Robertson, the state geologist and director of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey.

The second session, scheduled for Tuesday, November 13, will examine Wisconsin’s sand mining boom and how it affects the environment and economies of rural communities in the state. Speakers that evening will include Rich Budinger, president of the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association; Thomas Pearson, an assistant professor of social science at UW-Stout; and Kate Prengaman, a reporter with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

The series concludes on Tuesday, November 27 with a discussion of fracking’s impact on natural gas prices and the U.S. energy economy. The program will include Frank Greb, president of the Energy Center of Wisconsin; Phil Montgomery, chair of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin; and Greg Nemet, a UW-Madison assistant professor of public affairs and environmental studies.

The forum sessions are free and open to the public. For more information, visit