Reid R. Frazier is a writer and radio producer. His work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Burn: An Energy Journal, and other places. He’s written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Quarterly and other magazines. He is an energy and environment producer for Pittsburgh public radio show, The Allegheny Front.
He was a reporter at the North Jersey Herald & News and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He is a graduate of Hampshire College and holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Vermont.
He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Marijke, and their daughters Anya and Ruby.
She stood for environmentalism. Now a drilling rig stands along the trail in her name.
Particulates and other emissions from burning fossil fuels are costly for human health: the WHO says 3.3 million people die prematurely due to air pollution. But in the US, utilities are shifting away from coal power and the costs of illnesses triggered by pollution is falling.
In states like Pennsylvania, efforts to deal with the mess left behind from abandoned coal mines have hit an unexpected — and rather ironic — hurdle: the decline of the coal industry itself.
Coal-fired power plants in the US are working to comply with new EPA rules limiting mercury and sulfur dioxide. New equipment and other measures are being taken because of clean air rules the Obama administration imposed on the coal industry. It is a massive undertaking.
It took decades of tragedies and illnesses, and a trip to see UN officials, but a retired teacher in the small town of Norco, Louisiana persuaded Shell Oil to relocate the residents of her neighborhood away from a dangerous chemical plant. Now her example may help other local activists do the same.
Norco, Louisiana is named after the New Orleans Refinery Company, which built a highly polluting refinery there in the early 20th century. The Allegheny Fronts Reid Frazier tells the story of Norco resident, Margie Richard, who went all the way to the UN to protect her towns public health.
Wastewater created by fracking contains many toxic elements and chemicals that can contaminate groundwater. The good news? Microbes in the soil feast on the metals and help clean up the spill. The bad news? This process can release high levels of arsenic into the groundwater.
Frackwater contains many toxic elements and chemicals. Allegheny Fronts Reid Fraizer reports that when it spills into the environment, microbesnatures decomposersstart to clean it up, but in the process they sometimes release arsenic, which can contaminate groundwater. And the cost of correcting leaks from wastewater impoundments is adding up.
If there is anything people in Pennsylvania can agree on, it is that no one can agree whether the fracking boom has been a blessing or a curse for the state. A now a proposal to use abandoned mine water for tracking is causing more confusion and concern.
In Pennsylvania, residents are struggling with lack of drinkable well water. People often point to the controversial practice of "fracking" as the culprit, but scientists haven't found much evidence that gas drilling is to blame — at least not yet.