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Sociology professor presents environmental disaster research at three regional conferences

March 30, 2012

According to Loyola University New Orleans sociology professor Anthony Ladd, Ph.D., America’s energy policy and its effect on our environment is a hot topic. Ladd, who specializes in environmental disaster research, has spoken at two different conferences on the subject in the last two weeks and is currently addressing the Midwest Sociological Society in Minneapolis, Minn.

Ladd recently spoke at the Impact of Environmental Disasters on Vulnerable Populations Conference at Dillard University, showing how the quest for energy has been at the core of many environmental disasters over the last four decades.

“We looked at the role that conventional energy systems have played in environmental disasters over the last 40 years,” Ladd said. “Several major technological disasters, from the meltdown at Chernobyl to the BP oil spill to the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, have all been driven by our pursuit of fossil fuel and nuclear energy. The impact on our society and environment has been immense.”

Ladd also addressed the environmental impacts of extracting natural gas and oil through the practice of “fracking” at a meeting of the Southern Sociological Society, as well as at the conference in Minneapolis. “Fracking” involves expanding fractures in rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them open. The larger openings allow more oil and gas to flow out and be extracted.

“I have been given a Marquette Fellowship and faculty research grant to research the socio- and environmental impacts of ‘fracking’ on communities in northern Louisiana and the conflicts that are arising around this contested technology,” Ladd said. “This is a big national news story in New York, Texas and Pennsylvania, and Louisiana is going to be joining this debate very soon.”

For more information, contact Matt Lambert in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5448 or mlambert@loyno.edu.

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