All about fracking

Event series to focus on all aspects of hydraulic fracturing

Dawn Harris is organizing events to increase awareness of fracking.

Dawn Harris is organizing events to increase awareness of fracking.

Photo/Sage Leehey

For more information about this event series, visit

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is one of those things you either love or hate.

Both sides of the argument are passionate, and since it’s becoming increasingly common in Nevada, learning more about it can help you decide whether it’s good or bad.

Dawn Harris, founder of the Frack Free Nevada website and Facebook page and member of Nevadans Against Fracking, is hosting an event series at the University of Nevada, Reno in order to foster awareness of the issue and get people to come up with their own verdict on fracking.

“I want it on everybody’s tongues,” Harris said. “I want everybody talking about it. I want them to know what it is. I want them to have an understanding of what the implications are. There’s a disconnect between fracking and how it’s going to affect people. It’s been really, really hard to get people engaged in the issue, and it’s a really important issue because we’re talking about our air and our water.”

The event series takes place over the course of four days—March 26, April 5, April 16 and April 30—and Harris’ goal is to showcase an unbiased presentation of facts on fracking. Her original plan was to have people on both sides of the argument present, but she was unable to get anyone from the fracking industry to participate.

The first day of events runs from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will be more “artsy” than the other days, according to Harris. She plans to present cultural perspectives on fracking, with a focus on the importance of water, as well as a session she titled “Fracking 101.” This event will talk about the basics of what fracking is for those who aren’t as familiar with the topic.

On April 5, there will be video presentations of a debate on fracking from Cornell University and “A Conversation with Deborah Rogers,” which will focus on the business side of fracking—jobs and Wall Street. The events on April 16 will include presentations by David Von Seggern about fracking and earthquakes and by Glenn C. Miller about the environmental impacts of fracking. The final day will focus on fracking ethics and social justice issues within the industry.

“They’re presenting facts,” Harris said. “I’m trying to stick with science and those who are well known in the industry and have credentials. I don’t want it to be just about opinions.”

Harris is displeased with the way the industry is regulated in Nevada because she believes the Division of Minerals—the entity in charge of fracking regulation in the state—is highly influenced by the oil and gas industry, creating a conflict of interest. She said this fuels her group’s desire for a ban in the state.

“Not only is there bias in the program, but there’s also substandard monitoring and the regulations are not doing the job,” Harris said. “So for those reasons, we want a ban or a moratorium until an unbiased, independent party can come in and review the program.”