author, biologist, and environmental activist Sandra Steingraber will deliver the keynote address "A Place for Fracking" at 2014 Roethke Festival, Lafayette College, Easton, Pa.

Lafayette College’s 2014 Roethke Festival presents a two-day symposium Sept. 19 and 20 focused on the hot-button issue of hydraulic fracturing, more commonly referred to as fracking. The symposium, “A Place for Fracking?,” is free and open to the public.

“With broad public interest in the Marcellus Shale gas boom and its implications, and a new pipeline proposed for the Lehigh Valley and Hunterdon County, it is crucial to come together to examine the issue from all sides,“ said Alix Ohlin, associate professor of English at Lafayette College and one of the event’s organizers. “The community’s participation in this event could help shape the future of fracking in this region.”

The program begins Friday at 4 p.m. with a panel discussion featuring David Yoxtheimer, a geoscientist and shale gas development expert at Penn State; Abby Kinchy, a sociologist from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.; Lamar Herrin (, whose critically-acclaimed Fractures, a novel about fracking, was released in 2013; and Brian Cohen (, a photographer for the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project.

From 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday evening, Herrin will read from Fractures, and Cohen will show photographs and discuss his work with the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project at an exhibit of his work.

Each of Friday’s events will take place in the Williams Visual Arts Building on North Third Street in Easton.

Saturday’s events begin with a community forum from 2 to 3:30 p.m., held at 248 North Third Street, across the street from the Williams Visual Arts Building, and co-hosted by Easton’s Nurture Nature Center.

“A Place for Fracking?” concludes with a keynote address delivered by author, biologist, and environmental activist Sandra Steingraber ( She is scholar in residence at Ithaca College, author of Living Downstream: A Scientist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment, co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York and New Yorkers Against Fracking, and science advisor to Americans Against Fracking.

A vocal contributor to the public and scientific debate over fracking, Steingraber is frequently featured in the media and has been the keynote speaker at international conferences on human health and the environment. She is the recipient of numerous honors for her writing and environmental leadership, including the Rachel Carson Leadership Award and the Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund.

Steingraber’s presentation will take place at 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20 in Lafayette College’s Oechsle Hall auditorium, room 224, on Hamilton Street.

“A Place for Fracking?” is the highlight of the 2014 Roethke Festival, an interdisciplinary festival of the environment and the arts. The symposium is presented in partnership with the Nurture Nature Center of Easton and with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a range of programs and departments from every division at Lafayette College.

All events are free and open to the public. Stay up-to-date with announcements about the  symposium at

For more information, contact Alix Ohlin, (610) 330-3501,

Photo courtesy of Lafayette College, photography by Wendy Lynne Lee, Ph.D
Photo caption: Sandra Steingraber


Kathleen Parrish
Associate Director of Media Relations
Lafayette College
Communications Division
Easton, PA 18042

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