Aired: October 26, 2018

Infrastructures of Power

A gas pipeline being built. Credit: National Parks Conservation Association.

  • The Science of Natural Gas (15 min.)

    With: Andres Clarens (University of Virginia)

    Across the nation, natural gas production has been ramping up. How do we balance environmental concerns and the public good? We break down the science of natural gas, pipelines, and how we make electricity with environmental engineer Andres Clarens.

    Segment:
  • What Railroads Can Teach Us About Pipelines (13 min.)

    With: Jaime Allison (Christopher Newport University)

    Jaime Allison says that energy development has been controversial in the United States for over a hundred years. He argues that we can better understand pipelines by looking back to the early days of railroads.

    Segment:
  • The Trade-offs We Make (11 min.)

    With: Sarah Stafford (College of William and Mary)

    Economist Sarah Stafford argues that pipelines require people to weigh environmental costs and economic benefits, and the results aren’t always what you’d expect.

    Segment:
  • Union Hill vs The Compressor Station (14 min.)

    With: Travis Williams (Virginia Commonwealth University)

    Sociologist Travis Williams takes us to Union Hill, a historically African American community in Buckingham County, Virginia, where a natural gas compressor station is being planned. Williams sees the Union Hill controversy as one example of how environmental hazards have disproportionately impacted African Americans.

    Segment:

Discussion

1 Comment on “Infrastructures of Power”

  1. ishi crew

    Very interesting show–lots of good and detailed economic analyses (‘path dependence’). The segment on the african american town to me sounded like a clear case of ‘environmental racism’. Exactly how and who decides where to put a pipeline and compressor station? Some white CEOs and ‘technocrats’ (scientists , economists…) who use critera called NIMBY and PITY (put it in their yard). (I am not religious so in general i choose science and econ over church, but in this case i don’t. If they have to make a choice, flip a coin to see thriough which ‘hood’ you put a pipeline).

    I happen to know alot of that area for that pipleline. Dominion energy or exelon or whoever is building it really are heartless—only care about money. Of course they have much complicity—some in that town ‘sold out’, many people use that energy, and even environmentalists and others who oppose it often alienate potential allies because they are busy with their careers. I was supposed to be involved in some activism opposing that, but the activist and academic community tends to be elitist, hierarchical, and basically tell others what to do and think—they dont believe in sharing decisionmaking; they beleive in leadership which is what they are. That way they will get to live in a neighborhood where there wont be any pipelines. The followers get those.

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