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JANUARY 20—MARCH 01, 2011



Along with these growing numbers come greater impacts on both human social systems and the many ecosystems on earth, from microbial communities to biomes. More and more resources are being utilized to meet the needs of the ever increasing and more affluent world population. The by-products and ecological damage associated with resource production and consumption are altering the

In the 2,000 years between the foundation of

geochemical conditions that have evolved

Our fossil fuels based society has for many

the Roman Empire, in the third century BCE,

synonymously with life. Increasing toxicity in

years embraced consumption, oversized cars,

to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution,

air, water, soils and the nutrient stream are

spread out cities, large homes and architectural

the global population grew at a rate of about

impacting not only the health of humans but

excesses of all descriptions. In the United

30 million people per century (with some

also the health of the entire biological chain.

States, our gross national product is a measure

ups and downs along the way), reaching 800

We are drawing down on finite amounts of

of consumption. The more we consume, the

million in the year 1765. Industrialization

fertile soil, fresh water and abundant fuels that

more successful we consider our economy.

would very quickly have significant impacts on

have amassed in past geologic eras. The

There is no measure of how effective our

humankind, accelerating the growth of world

long-term consequences of these rapid

economy is in using and sustaining resources,

population. By the spring of 1858, when Peter

environmental changes are not fully known,

although this is beginning to change.

Cooper first opened the Great Hall to the

and the scientific community holds diverse

public, the global community had reached

views about the full extent of impact that this

What we design, the cities we create, the

an estimated 1.35 billion people. By 1974, the

growing human population will ultimately

buildings we erect, how we engineer our infra-

year John Hejduk completed his architectural

bring. But the scientific community agrees

structure, our roads and bridges and airports,

transformation of this Foundation Building,

that changes are in motion now and there will

the farming practices we use, the industrial

the population had reached 3.71 billion. In the

be adverse impacts across the social and

processes that we employ, and how we power

short span of 36 years since that renovation,

ecological spectrums.

our society all will determine how great our

we have added another 3.18 billion people,

impact to the environment will be. Concrete

growing the total population to 6.89 billion.

production alone accounts for an incredible

The population continues to grow at the rate

7% of all global CO2 emissions. In the United

of about 78 million people per year. By

States buildings are responsible for about

2050 it is estimated that there will be 9 billion

half of all resource and energy use.

of us on the planet.

The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design was established in the summer of 2009 by President George Campbell to address the educational questions that are coming out of this evolving world situation. The Institute’s Many in the design community now believe

mission is to help develop the cross-

our future lies in imagining ways of designing

disciplinary knowledge and skills that architects,

with resource restraint, of creating cultural

engineers and artists need to meet the

products and processes that not only aspire

challenges of creating a sustainable society;

to minimize environmental damage but also

a society that prospers because its designed

aspire to create new resources, and contribute

economic, social and engineering systems

to environmental improvement. We anticipate

work in harmony with the ecological dynamics

that the engineers, architects and artists of

and resource limitations of the earth. It is also

The Cooper Union will be leading contributors

the mission of this Institute to exchange

to a new design mentality that imagines an

knowledge with the intellectual and civic

aesthetic of minimal impact on the systems

communities beyond our campus. This

that sustain us.

exhibition, mounted in conjunction with The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture,

These rapidly changing global conditions have

and which looks at some of the adverse

turned sustainability into one of the iconic

impacts of our reliance on fossil fuels, is the

terms of the 21st century. We now must ask

ďŹ rst public show of the Institute; the ďŹ rst

ourselves if humanity can re-imagine and

of many which we hope will engage the minds

redesign its practices so the economy of the

and hearts of the public, our faculty and the

future will be one that does not waste the

students of The Cooper Union.

wealth of the planet but one that conserves and rebuilds it. Can the longstanding perception that caring for the environment lowers economic productivity be overcome by the realization that working with and investing in the environment is the way to build the foundation of the next great era of human progress?

Kevin Bone Director The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design

Bucket wheel excavators working at dierent levels, with coal transport conveyors attached to each machine. Niederizer, Germany

J HENRY FAIR Much talk is spent on the environment, but in actual fact, it is just the series of planetary systems that provide the life-support elements for life on this planet. Debate, clouded by pecuniary interests, rages about what might or might not be happening with the physical world, while everyone discusses the increasingly surreal nature of the weather. No major environmental legislation has been enacted in this country since 1973, and today those bastions of American law are under attack from special interests profiting at the expense of our health. Yet My work is a response to my vision of society.

ironically, we provide the fodder for the machines of production, both with our insatiable demand and, in another sense, as the guinea pigs

I see our culture as being addicted to petroleum and the unsustainable

awaiting a statistical result of heedless consumption.

consumption of other natural resources, which seems to portend a future of scarcity. My vision is of a different possibility, arrived at through

This dichotomy is illustrated in two ways.

careful husbandry of resources and adjustment of our desires and

The first, the ecstasy of satisfaction: our need for aesthetic stimulation

consumption patterns toward a future of health and plenty. To gear our

is satisfied with a series of images that are immediately immensely

civilization toward sustainability does not necessitate sacrifice today,

pleasing to the senses. The second, the unease of gluttony: the

as many naysayers would argue, but simply adjustment. There are

nightmares following the period of indulgence.

many societies existing at present that have a standard of living at least as high as ours while consuming and polluting a fraction of what is

For each indulgence of materialist desires, a debit is recorded against

the norm in the United States.

the life support systems of the present or future. Most of these are purposely invisible to the consumer, who, by definition, sits at the table

As an artist with a message, one asks oneself: “How do I translate my message to my medium such that it will affect the change I want? These are all photographs of things I have found in my explorations. Other than standard photographic adjustments of contrast, they are unmodified.

imbibing anything within reach, oblivious of consequence.

THE EXTRACTION OF FOSSIL FUELS For the first 200 years or so after 1765, these fossil fuels were obtained in two relatively simple ways. If the fuel was coal, tunnel down and dig it out of the earth. If it was oil or natural gas, insert a pipe into the ground (or shallow offshore waters) and pump it out. These processes could be locally devastating and The world that created the landscapes in this

socially exploitive, but the scope of damage

exhibition is 246 years old. It was born in 1765

was relatively limited, and dwarfed by the vast

when James Watt invented the reciprocating

wealth created by fossil fuels.

steam engine. This gave human beings the ability to do work on an immeasurably greater

However, in the last fifty years the nature of

scale than had been possible with the power

fossil fuel extraction has changed. Traditional

sources of 1764: human and animal muscle,

sources of natural gas in North America are

wind, flowing water and open fire.

steadily shrinking. Safety regulations and the voracious appetite of massive electric power

But the steam engine needed fuel to do its

generators for coal have pushed American

magic. Fortunately, nature had given the

subsurface coal mining into terminal decline.

British Isles (and, as it turned out, the planet)

Most of the easy to extract oil is gone from

vast amounts of coal, which made possible the

North America, and the American energy

explosive use of Mr. Watt’s machines and their

giants have tried to rebuild their shrinking oil

many descendants, and the totally unprece-

reserves by moving to overseas sources. That

dented surge in wealth they produced. Oil

course has proven only partially successful

followed coal, which was followed by natural

at best. In more and more instances, the best

gas, and finding and using these fossil fuels

overseas sources have fallen under the control

became a worldwide source of prosperity.

of nationalized companies that manipulate

It is thanks to fossil fuels that, in the nine short

production to artificially control world oil prices

generations since 1765, the wealth of the

and see little, if any, reason to share the profits

world has multiplied over 100 times.

with America’s oil corporations.

Al Appleton Senior Advisor The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design

So the world, led by private energy companies, has turned to what are called “unconventional” energy sources. These sources—shale gas, deep water drilling, tar sands, and mountaintop removal mining, are the subject of this exhibition. These energy sources have two common characteristics: they are difficult to extract and, once the extraction process is complete, they leave behind devastated landscapes that will remain blasted and sterile for generations. For generations, urban civilization has In recent years, the dominant concern about

depended on fossil fuels and glorified in our

fossil fuel combustion has been carbon

successes in finding and using it. But we are

dioxide-generated global warming. But it has

approaching, if we have not already reached,

become increasingly evident that when

an historical crossroads where wealth created

considering the costs and benefits of relying

by fossil fuel exploration no longer outweighs

on fossil fuels, not only must global climate

the costs it inflicts on our global civilization.

impacts be evaluated the degradation of regional landscapes, hydrology, habitat,

So now the question: Should we continue to

ecology, and maritime resources must be

create these landscapes of extraction? Is this

factored in as well.

the world and the atmosphere that we must have? Or is there an alternative? And if that were not question enough, let the viewer also ask: “What do these landscapes say about us, our values, and our future?”

MAP OF GLOBAL FRESHWATER HYDROLOGY World water resources are severely threatened by the extraction processes described herein.

Offshore drilling dates from the late 19th century in the Caspian Sea off Baku. The practice spread into the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and, in the first half of the 20th


century, became a common, worldwide practice wherever the water depth was shallow enough to feasibly access underlying oil formations. Today, one third of American oil production comes from offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Many other portions of the American coast are considered promising for oil production but, for both environmental and esthetic reasons, offshore drilling is generally


prohibited elsewhere in the United States, except in Alaska.

Offshore drilling technology is now undergoing a dramatic evolution, allowing the industry to place wells in water depths that, until recently, were inconceivable. Once, a well that went 1000 feet through water to the ocean floor was considered deep. Today, wells often operate in water depths of a mile or more. Offshore HYDRO-FRACKING

drilling companies today build pipe casings the height of Mount Everest that must be strong enough to remain stable and leak-free in the face of tides, currents, storms, and the upwelling pressure of liberated oil and natural gas. Deep water drilling has made possible a whole new generation of oil fields, off the coast of Russia in the North Pacific, far out to sea east of Brazil, off the coast of Ghana, as well


as in the deep water portions of existing fields like those in the Gulf of Mexico.

When oil is released in the environment, it tends to stay in the environment. Oil is composed of many complex molecules and, until the industrial era, it has been a relatively uncommon substance on the earth’s surface. Consequently, few species of bacteria have evolved to biodegrade oil. Because such microbial action is limited, it can take many decades for nature to break oil down. Oil remnants from the Unlike other energy industry-impacted

1990 spills off the coast of Staten Island are

landscapes, where scars on the surface are

still present in significant amounts in the local

a fundamental part of extraction activity,

beach subsurface sands and sediments.

offshore drilling often proceeds without a

A year after the Deepwater Horizon spill, a

visible mark on the seascape. However, the

growing body of research suggests the disaster

marine environment is extremely vulnerable

deposited oil over large portions of the Gulf’s

Deepwater offshore drilling is considered

to many of the industry’s day-to-day drilling

seafloor. There is no realistic forecast as to

one of the future growth areas of the oil industry.

practices and is especially threatened should

how long it will remain.

Attempts are now underway to allow deepwater

an accident occur. The Deepwater Horizon

rigs in many previously restricted areas.

disaster in the summer of 2010 in the Gulf

Offshore drilling indirectly alters the landscape

Particularly disturbing is the fact that the

of Mexico was a dramatic example of deep

as well. Onshore industrial support facilities,

Deepwater Horizon disaster seems to have had

water drilling’s environmental risks. Accidents

refineries, pipelines, docks, and boatyards

no cautionary impact on the pending proposals

were generally less severe when the industry

are located on coastlines as near to the

to deepwater drill in the freezing waters of

was operating in only several hundred feet

offshore drilling as possible, and they often

the Beaufort Sea north of Canada and Alaska.

of water. An accident 500 feet down is

occupy sensitive wetlands sites, require

Should a Deepwater Horizon scale drilling

manageable in a way an accident 5,000 feet

dredging and channelization, and create

accident occur in those waters, the ecological

down is not.

concentrated hotspots of dredge spoils and

damage would far exceed that in the Gulf of

oily water. Moreover, the damage they do to

Mexico. The recovery time for nature would

the fragile balance of wetland and ocean is

be measured in the hundreds if not thousands

often irreversible. It is thanks to such intense

of years.

industrial activities that the coastline of Louisiana is eroding faster than any other shoreline on earth, losing 30 to 50 square miles per year.

Location of petroleum bearing geology in North America



Floating drilling platform Ixtoc 1 well site (site of 1979 oil spill) Water depth: 160 feet

YEAR 1940








00 (ocean surface)

Tiber well Water depth: 4,132 feet 5000'

Macondo prospect (deepwater horizon drilling rig) Water depth: 5,00 feet Tubular risers for drilling and water injection


Mooring lines Perdido well Water depth: approximately 8,000 feet (Operating in deepest water) -2000 10000' Ixtoc 1 well Total well depth: 11,960 feet





Macondo prospect Total well depth: 18,000 feet Perido well Total well depth: 19,000 feet -5000

Deepwater Horizon Rig





30000' -8000

-9000 Oil Rig 35000'

Tiber well Total well depth: 35,050 feet



Macondo Well

Tiber Well Perdido Well

IXTOC 1 Well


< Gulf of Mexico, showing primary drill sites

> Detail of Gulf Coast showing leased ďŹ elds, primary collection and distribution points and drill sites




< Detail of the Mississippi River Delta showing pipelines and drill sites

> Aerial photograph of the Mississippi River Delta showing oďŹ&#x20AC;shore oil industry infrastructure

The Tiber well is nearly twice the depth of the BP Macondo well. Both wells were drilled by the 58,000-ton Transocean drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. INFORMATION ABOUT

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest


offshore oil spill in U.S. history. An estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil flowed from the well between April 20th and July 15th 2010.

Crude oil is produced in 31 states and U.S.

The previous worst offshore spill was in 1979,

coastal waters. In 2009, 50% of U.S. crude

when the Ixtoc I well in the bay of Campeche,

oil production came from five states:

Mexico spilled an estimated 3.5 million barrels

Texas (21%)

of oil, spoiling coastal waters as far off as

Alaska (12%)

Padre Island, Texas 650 miles north.

California (11%) North Dakota (4%)

The deepest floating production platform in

Louisiana (3.5%)

the Gulf of Mexico, the Perdido spar, operates in water of an 8,000-foot depth.

About 1/3 of U.S. crude oil is produced from offshore wells located in state and federally

The tallest fixed production platform in the

administered waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico, the Petronius rig, stands 1,754 feet above water—taller than any skyscraper

Although total U.S. crude oil production has

in the world until the Burj Kahifa in Dubai was

generally decreased each year since it peaked

completed last year.

in 1970, it increased by 7% in 2009 from the previous year, in large part due to a 35%

The maximum depth of the Gulf of Mexico is

increase of production in federal waters of the

unknown. It is estimated to be in the range of

Gulf of Mexico.

12,303 to 14,370 feet.

The world’s deepest offshore well, the Tiber well—yet to become operational—reaches nearly 6 miles below the gulf’s seafloor at a depth of 35,050 feet. This is more than 6,000 feet taller than Mount Everest.

One third of U.S. oil production flows from nearly 3,500 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Minerals Management Service, offshore operations in the Gulf produce 1/4 of the U.S. domestic natural gas

60,000 plastic bags are used in the U.S. every

and 1/8 of U.S. domestic oil.

five seconds. Other products made from petroleum include plastic, dishwashing liquid,

The actual damages to wildlife from the

detergent, ammonia, deodorant and crayons.

Deepwater Horizon accident may never fully

In the U.S. approximately 11.1 million barrels

2 million plastic bottles are used in the United

be known. As of October 2010, 2,263 birds

of oil are consumed for cars, trucks and buses

States every five minutes. The U.S. Conference

were collected dead. An estimated 225,000

per day. U.S. passenger vehicles consume

of Mayors calculates that it takes 1.5 million

birds died in the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

about 390 million gallons of gasoline per day

barrels of oil to make all of the plastic water

and contribute 20% of our global warming

bottles used in the U.S. in one year. Nationally,

According to BP, 1.8 million gallons of

pollution. The gasoline for these cars is almost

only 1 in 4 plastic bottles is recycled.

dispersant were used in the Gulf of Mexico

entirely refined from petroleum, nearly 60%

during the Deepwater Horizon spill.

of which is imported.

The burning of petroleum accounts for 42% of all energy-related Carbon Dioxide emissions

The oil and gas industry in the U.S. Gulf of

Approximately 1.4 million barrels of oil are

Mexico region is an annual $62.7 billion dollar

consumed for air travel in the U.S. per day.

industry, employing an estimated 107,000

Jet fuel accounts for 10.5% of U.S.

Emissions from the burning of petroleum

people. Tourism in the same region is

transportation fuel.

products include Carbon Dioxide (CO2),

estimated to employ 524,000 people.

in the U.S.

Carbon Monoxide (CO), Methane (CH4), Sulfur When gasoline approached $4 a gallon in

Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) and

In 2009, the U.S. imported about 52% of the

2008, consumption dropped by 900,000

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) as well as

crude oil and refined petroleum products that

barrels a day.

particulate matter, lead and various air toxics

it used.

such as benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde Approximately 6.5 million barrels of oil are

The United States consumes an estimated 19.64 million barrels of oil a day, about 27% of world oil consumption. That totals 824.88 million gallons a day worldwide, and over 2.6 gallons of oil per day by every man, woman and child in the U.S.

consumed for heating in the U.S. per day.

and 1,3-butadiene.

Flaring of excess gas captured and piped up to the Discoverer Enterprise drill ship from the leaking BP Macondo well. The heat is so intense that water must be constantly sprayed on the nozzle arm to protect it from melting. Gulf of Mexico

< Burn-oďŹ&#x20AC; of oil collected from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. Gulf of Mexico

> Oil slick from BP Gulf Macondo well blowout. Gulf of Mexico





The worst and most irrevocable damage is done in more hilly areas, like the Appalachian Coal Province that extends through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In these states, the strip mining industry has turned into the mountaintop mining industry, whose specialty is literally peeling away the tops of mountains to provide easier access to the coal seams. As for the mountain top, it becomes spoil (the nonmineral bearing debris of the operation) which Since the 1960s, strip mining has replaced

is dumped into the valley below in the

deep rock mining as the dominant form of coal

cheapest and most convenient way possible.

extraction in the United States. From a commercial point of view, strip mining has

As water flows down from these truncated

many advantages. It presents fewer safety

mountaintops and seeps through unconsoli-

issues, is easier to start up and equip, uses less

dated valley deposits below, it leaches a

manpower, and generally costs less per ton

witch’s brew of pollutants from the exposed

of coal extracted.

rock and unharvested coal seams. The resultant stream acidification and increased

But strip mining has profound environmental

water turbidity competes with shale gas

liabilities. Even in the most benign

fracking as the most serious challenge to the

circumstances, when the coal is close to the

Clean Water Act in the United States today.

surface and the land relatively flat, strip mining

As for the landscape itself, mountaintop

rips apart the hydrogeology of the land,

mining creates a sterile environment. All forms

permanently disrupting surface stream flows,

of life are severely disrupted and best estimates

underground aquifers, and water tables. Strip

suggest it will take hundreds of years before

mining tends to intermingle the precious

diverse natural systems will fully return to

topsoil layer with subsoil and mineral layers.

the strip mined mountain landscapes of

It obliterates local ecological communities that

the Appalachians.

took uncounted generations to establish. Land contours cannot be restored because of changes in soil and rock volumetrics. Erosional processes accelerate, and the leaching of exposed materials acidifies streams.

Location of coal bearing geology in the United States









Coal Seam Coal Seam

Mining Waste: Gradual Buildup of overburden in valley below Flooded Stream




MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL Forest and topsoil is stripped away, then top parts of mountain are blasted away to access coal seams.

0 1976




YEAR Mountaintop Removal Mines (MTR)

Coal Seam

Other Surface Mines

Coal Seam

Forest and topsoil is stripped away. Blasting then occurs to access coal seams. Mining waste is dumped into valleys and streams. Runoff-high in silt, iron and sulfur compounds pollutes the water.

UPPER AND BASELINE SEAM MINING Coal seams are gradually blasted and removed; excess rock and debris continue to be dumped into the valley below.

Flooded Stream Mining Operation Site

Mining Waste Valley Fill

ALTERED LANDSCAPE Baseline coal seams are completely mined and backfilled; area is left bare, leveled and filled with overburden.

REMEDIATION Remaining tiered edge of mining operation is filled. The entire site is covered with topsoil and seeded.












< Appalachian region showing coal bearing geology and urban centers

> Mountaintop removal mining in the Appalachian Coal Provinceâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Red indicates areas of mountaintop removal




< Mountaintop removal activity in southern West Virginia. Black frame indicates are of image

> Kayford Mountain Mine, West Virginia

EPA reports that existing Appalachian surface mining operations have deforested an area the size of Delaware. The forested mountains of central and southern Appalachia being destroyed by MTR have some of the highest

MTR also impairs the natural carbon

biodiversity outside the tropics.

sequestration of Appalachian forests. Even after 15 years, many reclaimed areas show

Between 1992 and 2010, 2,000 miles of

little or no regrowth of woody vegetation

headwater streams were buried as a result

and minimal carbon storage.

of surface mining at a pace of 120 miles per year, according to EPA.

The Coal industry defends MTR by saying reclaimed mine sites provide flat land for


A 2007 study showed that the burial of

development. In Kentucky, since 1999, however,

headwater streams by valley fills “causes

development was planned for less than

permanent loss of ecosystems that play critical

3% of the roughly half-million acres of land

roles in ecological processes such as nutrient

covered by surface-mining permits.

cycling and production of organic matter for Coal is the largest source of fossil fuel energy

downstream food webs.”

The federal government considers the creation of new streams on the mine site and

for electricity generation worldwide, making up MTR causes increased storm runoff and more

enhancement of streams off site valid forms

frequent and intense downstream flooding.

of MTR mitigation. Nevertheless, senior officials

Almost half of the electricity produced in the

The removal of vegetation, loss of topsoil,

of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have

United States comes from the burning of coal.

alterations in topography, and soil compaction

testified that they are not aware of any

46% of U.S. total electricity generation in 2008.

from use of heavy machinery at mines sites

successful stream creation projects in

16 pounds of coal is used each day by every

reduces infiltration capacity and promotes

conjunction with MTR.

man, woman and child in the U.S. 30%

overland flow of water.

percent of that coal comes from the mountains

Even after mine-site reclamation (attempts

of Appalachia.

to return a site to pre-mined conditions), groundwater samples from residential water

Estimates for the percent of US coal produced

wells have higher levels of mine-derived

by MTR range from 5% to 10%. Between

chemical constituents than well water from

25% and 40% of Central Appalachia’s coal is

unmined areas.

produced by MTR.

USFWS analyzed fish tissues collected

Since its peak in 2000, the labor productivity

downstream from mountaintop mining sites

of the Central Appalachian coal industry

and found selenium in all tissues. At several

has steadily declined, by 25% and 30%,

locations selenium in tissues exceeded 4 ppm,

respectively, for surface and underground

a concentration that can result in reproductive

mining. The decline is an indication that

failure and juvenile mortality in fish. Selenium

the region’s coal is becoming increasingly

in some tissues approached 7 ppm, a

more costly to mine.

concentration that results in reproductive failure for birds that consume the tissue.

In 2009, the USGS reported that “annual coal In Kentucky, the coal industry cost the

production from the Appalachian Basin

Some states have issued advisories about

state nearly $115 million during the 2006

will enter into a period of irreversible decline

excessive human consumption of selenium

fiscal year, taking into account all revenues

during the next several decades.”

in fish from MTR affected waters.

and expenditures. Coal’s share of total electricity generation

A 2009 study found county-level coal

While the Appalachian coal industry is

in the US declined by 2% between 2003 and

production is correlated with increased adult

estimated to provide $8.1 billion in total

2008, even though there was a slight increase

hospitalizations for chronic pulmonary

annual regional economic gains, excess

in total coal production.

disorders and hypertension, as well as

economic costs relative to benefits of

increased rates of mortality, lung cancer,

mining are estimated to be between $8.25

The Appalachian Regional Commission found

and chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease.

billion and $18.17 billion .

that the four states lying within the Central

A 2009 report estimated that coal mining

Although the common perception is that

of 52,000 new jobs in the renewable energy

is costing Appalachia five times more in

mining contributes to overall employment, the

manufacturing sectors for wind, solar,

premature deaths, $42 billion, than it provides

numbers put that claim into question. Areas

and biomass (26,000 in Tennessee alone).

the region in all jobs, taxes and other economic

with especially heavy mining actually have the

benefits, which total just $8 billion.

highest unemployment rates in Appalachia.

Appalachian region could generate a total

West Virginia has been estimated to have nearly 4,000 megawatts of utility-scale wind

Taking into account all revenues and

Overall, between 1990 and 2003, direct

potential.The National Renewable Energy

expenditures, the coal industry cost the state

coal mining employment fell by 23,500 miners,

Laboratory (NREL) estimated that the

of West Virginia $97.5 million during the

or 50%, while total coal production fell by

development of just half of that wind potential

2009 fiscal year. That means the state is

only 20%.

could result in 6,000 new local jobs during

propping up the coal industry—not the other

construction, 1,000 to 5,000 manufacturing

way around.

jobs, and 800 jobs in the operation and maintenance of the wind farms.

< Mountaintop removal mining site. Coal seams are visible along the edges of the site. Around Kayford Mountain, West Virginia

> Panorama of mountaintop removal mining site. Around Kayford Mountain, West Virginia

Overburden from blasting being removed by various machines. A small bulldozer pushes loose material down to a loader, which scoops it up into an earthmover. Kayford Mountain, West Virginia

< Hydro-seeding on covered mining site. The forested mountains, valleys and streams that once stood here are now buried beneath the seeded overburden. Around Kayford Mountain, West Virginia

> Coal conveyors at a mining site. They will transport the material to a nearby processing facility. Around Kayford Mountain, West Virginia

Shale is stone that is formed by the DEEP WATER DRILLING

compression of ancient ocean mud. It has long been known that shale contains large quantities of natural gas. When the single celled, carbon-rich ocean life of hundreds of million of years ago died, it sank to the seafloor and settled into the primordial mud that became today’s shale. Over the hundreds of millions of years since, tectonic pressure transformed these decaying life forms into


natural gas. No one knows how much natural gas is trapped in the world’s shale formations, but none doubt that it is immense.

Six years ago, spurred by the decline of traditional natural gas sources, the natural gas industry found ways to free the natural gas bound into these shale formations. The process is called hydraulic fracturing (or hydro-fracking). Deep vertical wells are drilled thousands


of feet into the earth to reach the shale formations. Then the drilling bit is reoriented horizontally and a radiating set of horizontal pipes are drilled out laterally through the shale, running as far as two miles. A sandsaturated combination of water and chemicals is shot through the pipes and into the shale formation at high pressure. The sand smashing into the shale creates minute fractures, freeing


the gas to flow through the pipes and up to the surface for collection.

What makes fracking such a serious potential pollution source starts with the use of sand. The sand must stay in solution to exert the

Shale gas fracking, if it continues to grow,

necessary pressure to crack the shale. But

will produce the most extensive damage

if you just add sand to water, all it does is sink.

of all the landscapes of extraction. Shale gas

So chemicals with the same specific gravity

fracking is spreading into 34 states, four

as sand are added to the sand and water mix

The potential water resource damage of shale

Canadian provinces, Europe and Australia.

to keep the sand in solution and buoyant.

fracking represents a huge environmental

Shale gas advocates regard its impacts on

Virtually all of those chemicals have toxicity

cost. Many in the water science community

rural landscapes as a small price to pay for the

levels of a few parts per million or, in some

regard this process as the most serious threat

next energy boom. Rural, environmental, and

cases, parts per billion. But at a solution level

to water quality in North America today.

Green energy advocates regard the current process of shale gas extraction as both an

of only 0.5% added chemicals; fracking fluids are often 1,000 times more toxic than the

Shale fracking is also a voracious transformer

environmental and energy disaster. The

thresholds for human harm. Nor are the

of rural land, both directly and in the industrial

outcome of the bitter debate promises to be

absolute amounts of chemical additives

pall it throws over adjacent landscapes.

the single most important factor shaping the

insignificant. A typical fracking event, where

If projections of shale fracking in the largely

future of America’s rural landscapes.

10 million gallons of frack fluid are shot

undeveloped Upper Delaware River Basin

into the shale, contains up to 100,000 gallons

of New York and Pennsylvania prove accurate,

of toxic chemicals.

at least one quarter of a million acres of watershed forest will be replaced with a maze of

These toxic chemicals have five pathways

drilling pads, derricks and support buildings,

to water contamination. They can move

pipelines, access roads, and the unending

through fractures in the shale into ground

noise of drilling machinery, supply vehicles,

water and aquifers; they can seep into shallow

pumps, and compressors.

underground water aquifers through breaks in the drilling pipes; they can spray over the

To these environmental costs must be

surface of the land in uncontrolled eruptions

added the economic and social costs that

at the well head; they can flow into streams

shale gas fracking will impose on the public.

after accidental spills in storage or

Poor water quality will negatively affect

transportation; and drillers can discharge

public health and health costs. Municipal

used fluids into streams because they have

budgets for water treatment will climb

no other easy or inexpensive way to dispose

skyward and the industrialized countryside

of them.

will be rendered unsuitable for future agricultural activity, tourism, and second home real estate opportunities.

Location of gas shale geology in the United States


Depth of a conventional man-powered drill well, 200-500 FT 1000' FRESH WATER AQUIFER Deepest steam-powered cable tool drilled well, 11,145 FT 2000'


Lateral boreholes extend up to 10,000 FT 5000' About 500 FT above the shale layer, a curve is drilled and the wellbore is extended laterally


7000' SHALE 8000'


Above depthof the Marcellus shale, which averages 100 FT thick in North-Central Pennsylvania






< Known shale gas plays in the Rocky Mountains region

> Hydro-fracking well pattern and major rivers in Colorado






< Hydro-fracking wells north of Denver, Colorado, showing vertical and horizontal drill patterns. White frame indicates area of image

> Well points along the Platte River, north of Denver, Colorado





< Hydro-fracking wells in GarďŹ eld County, Colorado, showing vertical and horizontal drill patterns. White frame indicates area of image

> Well points along the Colorado River in GarďŹ eld County, Colorado

< Hydro-fracking well sites in Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania

> Hydro-fracking well sites, Eunice, New Mexico

Hydro-fracking well sites, Gaines, Texas

Hydraulic fracturing (hydro-fracking) is credited as being first employed commercially by Halliburton in 1949.

Fracking was used between 1949 and 2002 to complete (mostly) vertical wells in shallow gas and oil formations. These operations were

HVHF enables extraction companies to drill

relatively modest and required only 75,000

down, then out through the rock horizontally,

gallons of water in both the drilling and

to a distance of approximately 10,000 feet.

fracturing stages combined.

The fresh water needed to drill and fracture such a horizontal leg is a minimum of

What is referred to as High Volume, slick-

10 million gallons. A pressure of up to 15,000

water, multi-stage, Hydraulic Fracturing and

psi may be employed during these multi-stage

horizontal drilling (HVHF) was introduced in

fracturing events.

2002, and is the current gas and oil extraction process. After the industry was granted

According to the Ground Water Protection

exemptions from all relevant federal

Council, (a gas industry lobby group), Water

environmental laws in July 2005 (commonly

and sand comprise over 98% of fracture

referred to as the Halliburton loophole) this

fluid; the remainder consists of various

process became standard practice.

chemical additives that improve effectiveness. Translated, a 10,000-foot multi-stage fracture would require up to 200,000 gallons of chemicals added to the 10 million gallons of water and proppant.


Industry publications often identify proppant as simple sand. Halliburton’s website describes this ingredient as “the same as used in a child’s sand castle.” In fact, this sand may have a thermoplastic coating; a material selected from among an ethylene vinyl acetate, a phenol-formaldehyde novolac resin, coumarone-indene resin, and many others or combinations thereof.

Well pads are approximately 5 acres in size. This area does not include access roads, pipelines, compressor stations and other The Pennsylvania DEP lists 54 individual

fracking infrastructure needs. In New York

chemicals known to be used in the hydro-

State, an average of up to 10 wells are drilled

fracking process. 15 of these chemicals have

per well pad, with a pad typically occurring

health impacts associated with 10 or more

every 1 or 2 square miles.

Health Effect Categories. A single HVHF event, using 10 million gallons The New York State Draft Supplemental

of fracturing fluid, requires approximately

Environmental Impact Statement on hydro-

3,000 large truck trips to and from the well pad.

fracking lists the use of 5 times as many chemicals as Pennsylvania. The Endocrine

A drilling rig burns an average of 800 gallons

Disruption Exchange (directed by Dr. Theo

of diesel fuel per day. When the well is being

Colborn, who lectured at The Cooper Union

drilled, it operates 24 hours per day, 7 days

Approximately 4,900 square miles of the

in 2010) lists 900 known chemicals used

a week, 365 days a year.

Delaware River Basin sit atop the Marcellus

in hydro-fracking.

Shale. The Utica Shale, the Oriskany Wells take approximately 6 weeks to complete.

Sandstone and other formations also underlie

The gas and oil industry—not required to

A pad with 10 wells would therefore operate

large portions of the Basin, which includes

disclose the chemicals used in the fracking

for approximately 60 weeks in a continuous

a large part of the watersheds that supply

process—argues that those formulas are

fashion, depending upon the drilling schedule.

New York City.

that is the product of extensive research

If developed according to plan, approximately

An independent study commissioned by the

and development.

27,000 HVHF wells may be drilled into the

New York City DEP and conducted by the

Marcellus shale deposits of the Delaware

engineering firm of Hazen and Sawyer

River Basin.

concluded that there would be significant risks

industrial secrets; proprietary information

to the water supply if hydro-fracking were allowed to proceed in the city’s watersheds.

The natural gas industry states that there has never been a documented case of drinking water contamination in the U.S. directly connected to the process of hydraulic fracturing, over a six decade long period.

Colorado records cite some 1,500 cases from 2003 to 2008 alone in which drilling companies reported hazardous spills, with

The U.S. natural gas mainline transmission

300 instances leading to what state officials

system is made up of about 1.5 million miles

determined was a measurable impact on

of distribution pipelines.

the water supply. The U.S. natural gas transportation network The Oil and Gas Conservation Division of New

New York’s DEC analyzed 13 samples of

delivered more than 23 trillion cubic feet

Mexico has documented some 800 cases in

recovered flow-back waste fluid and found that

of natural gas during 2008 to about 70

which water has been contaminated by oil and

they contain levels of radium-226, a derivative

million customers.

gas operations, 1/2 of them from waste pits

of uranium, as high as 267 times the limit

that had leaked chemicals into the ground.

safe for discharge into the environment, and

In 2007, nearly 51% of all households used

thousands of times the limit safe for people

natural gas as their primary heating fuel,

to drink.

accounting for about 22% of total consumption,

well drilled with a horizontal leg that is 5,000

The U.S. EPA has just begun the first

generation, 29% industrial and 14% for

feet in length and uses 5,000,000 gallons

comprehensive study of the cumulative and

commercial use.

of fracking fluids is like comparing $75,000

individual impacts of HVHF wells. The expected

to a sum of $5,000,000.

completion date is sometime in 2012.

Of the millions of gallons of fresh water,

Energy from natural gas accounts for 24%

chemicals and proppant that are injected into

of the total U.S. energy consumption, compared

the ground, an average of approximately 20%

to 39% from petroleum products, 23% from

is recovered as toxic flow-back waste. The

coal, 8% nuclear and only 6% renewable.

Comparing a vertical well drilled and fractured using 75,000 gallons of fresh water to a HVHF

other 80% remains underground, to migrate in ways not understood.

compared to 30% for electric power

< Hydro-Fracking drill sites, feeder pipelines, access roads and gravel banks for road building, all causing habitat fragmentation. Dimock, Pennsylvania

> Hydro-Fracking drill rig and staging area. Dimock, Pennsylvania

< Hydro-Fracking operations after initial drilling. Sopertown, Pennsylvania

> Overspray of drilling slurry at Hydro-Fracking drill site. This by-product from mining operations includes rock debris, drill bit lubricants and possibly residual radioactive material. The overspray at the top of the image is a violation and a danger to any nearby bodies of water. Dimock, Pennsylvania



The Athabasca Tar Sands lie under 54,000 square miles of Northern Alberta, at the southern end of Canada’s boreal forest. They contain an estimated 1.7 trillion barrels of oil, one of the world’s largest hydrocarbon reserves. These deposits are a gluey mixture HYDRO-FRACKING

of glacial sand and muck saturated with tar-like bitumen.

In order to extract usable oil from tar sands, the soil and vegetation layers must be peeled away in a process similar to strip mining. Then the sands are excavated and washed with huge quantities of steam to strip away the hydrocarbons. The separated oil is then


purified, collected, and sent by pipeline to American refineries and markets.

Surface mining of the Athabasca deposit destroys the landscape and eradicates natural habitats. It also produces spoil ponds, which hold the liquid pollutants from steam washing and other extraction processes. Legally, the oil industry is obliged to restore the landscape, but many experts assert that restoration is a practical impossibility. Even more problematic, should the ponds breach and wash into the Athabasca River, environmental damage would occur for 1,000 miles or more downstream and likely persist for generations.

Producing a barrel of oil from Athabasca creates three times more greenhouse gas than producing an ordinary barrel of oil. Nonetheless, the Athabasca Tar Sands are about to become Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest source of imported oil. The United States government,

The impact of tar sands oils on the global

in permitting the requisite pipelines, has

environment goes beyond the atmospheric

become an active partner in the development

emissions and the regional damage to northern

of tar sands oils, serving the ambitions of

Alberta and the Athabasca watershed.

Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper

Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unspoiled boreal forests are the

and his oil industry allies who long to see

greatest in the world and a priceless reservoir

Canada become, despite that countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stated

of sequestered carbon. But today, the map

concerns about global warming, the OPEC

of the Canadian boreal forest and its principal

of the North.

rivers is now dotted with proposed oil, shale gas, and mega-dam developments. If the development of tar sands oil proceeds on its present course, it will be the catalyst for the transformation of the Canadian north from a carbon sink to a carbon source.

Location of tar sands geology in Alberta, Canada



Injector Well


Bitumen (Tar Sand) formation 1000

2000 Lateral boreholes extend up to 3,300 FT

Aerial photograph of the Athabasca River and land 40 miles north

The Athabasca River surrounded by an oil reďŹ nery, industrial tailing

of the tar sands operations at Fort McMurray

ponds and the oil sands extraction footprint





< Canadian tar sands deposits and supporting pipeline and transportation infrastructure. Existing tar sands pipeline and associated reďŹ neries in red, future and proposed pipelines in orange

> Alberta bituminous sand deposits. Total leasable area in yellow and extraction footprint in red as of 2006









< Alberta tar sands leasable area. Existing extraction footprint > Athabasca existing open pit mines near Fort McMurray. in red, proposed and approved expansion in orange and

2006 approved expansion in orange and leasing

existing leased area in yellow as of 2006

divisions in yellow

The Athabasca tar sands lie beneath more than 54,000 square miles of the northern Alberta forest. These tar sands are the secondlargest oil deposit next to Saudi Arabia.

The entire tar sands region (Peace River, Athabasca, Cold Lake) is approximately the

Tar sands operations use approximately

size of New York State, covering 54,132

46.5 billion gallons of water per year—

square miles.

about 1/3 of the City of Toronto’s annual consumption in 2008.

In 2003, 160 square miles were developed for tar sands extraction. By the summer of 2006,

Tar sands extraction requires 2.5 to 4 times

that number grew to 772 square miles. Current

the amount of water required for conventional

plans are in place to develop an additional

crude oil extraction.

1,312 square miles - an area equal to the size of Florida.

Approximately 80% of the Alberta tar sands and nearly all of Venezuelan sands are too

On average, it takes 2 tons of mined tar sands

far below the surface to be open-pit mined.

material and 4 barrels of water to produce

In cases such as these, in-situ technology has

1 barrel of synthetic crude oil.

been developed to extract the oil. These processes use steam and chemical combinations to liquefy the bitumen, allowing it to be drawn to the surface via wells, while leaving the sand in place.

Tar sands oil contains 11 times more sulfur and nickel, 6 times more nitrogen and 5 times more lead than conventional oil. These toxins INFORMATION ABOUT TAR SANDS EXTRACTION

are released into the air and water during the refinement process.

The U.S. is overwhelmingly the dominant market for tar sands oil. Canada exports approximately 96% to the U.S. for refining

Industry waste run-off has been known to

and consumption.

pollute the Athabasca River, depositing bitumen, heavy metals such as arsenic, thallium,

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from tar

The proposed Keystone XL extension would

mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

sands operations are 3 to 5 times those

transport tar sands crude from Alberta Canada

(PAHs) at levels up to 30 times greater than

of conventional crude oil. Tar sands CO2

to the U.S. Gulf coast through over 4,000 miles

permitted by pollution guidelines.

emissions are the largest contributor to GHG

of pipeline. 1,980 miles of new pipeline are

emissions growth in Canada.

slated to be laid through Montana, Nebraska,

A 2009 study found that the tar sands industry

Oklahoma and Texas by 2013.

emits thousands of tons of bitumen particulates and PAHs into the atmosphere within a 40-

TransCanada, which operates over 36,000 miles of pipelines across North America and

Approval of the $12 billion Keystone XL

mile radius of tar sands up-graders, equivalent

serves as a supplier to oil companies including

pipeline would more than double the U.S.

to an annual 5,000 barrel oil spill on the

BP and ExxonMobil, is attempting to gain

supply of tar sands crude, in effect binding the

Athabasca River.

U.S. presidential approval for the extension

U.S. and Canada to the tar sands industry. Fishermen now regularly catch deformed fish

of their Keystone XL pipeline. The U.S. State Department recently granted

from lake Athabasca, the river and the delta.

a permit to construct a tar sands pipeline into

These fish have stomach abnormalities,

the Midwestern United States in order to

snubbed faces, shortened tails and lesions.

satisfy the local appeal of 3,000 temporary jobs in Minnesota.

Ottawa and the Alberta government, which are dependent on tar sands taxes and

Tar sands tailing ponds cover approximately

royalties, claim that the pollution in the

120 square miles along the Athabasca

Athabasca River is naturally occurring—

River, holding over 222 billion gallons of tar

a claim based on proprietary data collected

sands waste.

by an industry-funded group.

Two University of Waterloo scientists, who study tailings pollution and groundwater, proved seepage of tar sands water is occurring from Suncor’s Tar Island dike into the Athabasca River at a rate of 17.6 gallons per second.

< Extracted tar sands material being

> Sulphur stacks at a tar sands upgrader. Sulphur is a

pushed into a pit by the bulldozers above

by-product of the tar sands upgrading process, and though

is shoveled into waiting mining trucks.

it has many industrial uses (most signiďŹ cantly fertilizer

Fort McMurray. Alberta, Canada

production), the current market price is quite low. It is being stored for future sale. Fort McMurray. Alberta Canada.

Tar sands tailings pond. When the bitumen-saturated sand is mixed with hot water and toxic chemicals to separate the bitumen from the sand and other matter, vast quantities of â&#x20AC;&#x153;tailingsâ&#x20AC;? remain. Fort McMurray. Alberta Canada.

And it is not just the burning of fuels that are contributing to this carbon shift. Deforestation and the conversion of natural habitats to


croplands have pulled vast amounts of carbon out of soils. What increased surface carbon will mean for photosynthesis and the earth's plants, fungi, and microbial life is hard to assess. But there can be little doubt that, if humans continue to return carbon to the earth's surface, they will alter the conditions that shaped current life. It took millions of years, from the Pre-Cambrian geological era to the end of the Carboniferous era to move all the carbon now locked in fossil fuel from

The public side of the debate about fossil

the earth's surface to underground. The three

fuels has, for the most part, focused on global

hundred years or so since humans started

warming. It has failed to address what may

bringing fossil carbon back up to the surface to

well be the ultimate impact of our carbon

burn it are, by comparison, an instant in time.

consumption: the transformation of the geochemical composition of the earth's surface.

As the ďŹ rst decade of the 21st century ends,

For hundreds of millions of years, since the age

the global community ďŹ nds itself facing an

of the dinosaurs, a major portion of the total

unwelcome question: should humanity

carbon of earth has quietly slumbered below

continue to rely on burning fossil carbon

the surface in the form of coal, oil, and natural

to produce the energy our economy demands,

gas, and life has evolved in a relatively stable

or has the time come to recognize that what

carbon environment.

worked in the past will not work in the future? Has the time come to move beyond this

Humans have begun to change that carbon-

extraordinary natural resource that has given

stable environment. The amount of carbon

humanity 250 years of unprecedented wealth

dioxide in the atmosphere has increased

creation but whose rapidly growing external

by 40% since 1800. The oceans have taken

costs now make it increasingly problematic?

up so much additional carbon that they have become measurably more acidic. Overall global surface carbon levels are now the highest they have been in four million years.

This leaves two possible futures. The first is social and public leadership that recognizes the message of these landscapes: that it is time for a world organized around fossil fuel combustion to adopt green energy as the transformative driver of the prosperity of the future. The second is to continue on the current path, driven by those who reap the Is there an alternative? Green energy, energy

multi-trillion dollar benefits of the current fossil

The landscapes of extraction in this exhibit are

that replaces fossil carbon combustion with

fuel economy until, at some point, a downward

the products of humanity’s determination

solar and wind power, geothermal and tidal

trending benefits curve and an upward

to expand the use of fossil fuel, whatever the

power, energy conservation and nuclear and

trending cost curve cross, and economic

technical difficulties or ecological costs.

hydropower, is the standard answer. But many

reality forces a reckoning.

Trillions of dollars are being spent to create the new fossil fuel energy industries that are

argue that green power is too intermittent (the sun doesn't always shine, the wind doesn't

Nothing in history suggests that waiting for such

increasingly risky and increasingly destructive.

always blow), too expensive (an argument that

a reckoning will necessarily be constructive.

But if humanity is going to spend trillions on

turns on how you count the costs of burning

In the 1850s, as Cooper Union was being

these new energy strategies, should it not be

fossil fuels, as this exhibition suggests), that

founded, it had become apparent to forward

asked whether these are the new energy

green energy needs a completely new power

looking men of good will, both north and south,

industries we actually want? Why are we

transmission infrastructure, and such a

that slavery was doomed. But the clearer that

choosing energy strategies that look to the past,

significant transformation will take decades

became, the more passionately the South

instead of the future?

to accomplish (a position incongruent with the

defended slavery, until finally southern leaders

usual trumpeting of innovation as the driving

chose civil war and the resulting 100 years of

force of the capitalist economy). In effect,

southern impoverishment that followed, rather

supporters of the energy status quo say there

than accept that the time had come for

is no current alternative to the fossil fuel

privilege-disrupting change. Likewise, as the

energy world we know, nor to the landscapes

reality of climate change and environmental

of extraction that are increasingly becoming

degradation has become scientific fact, the

its signature characteristic.

denial of global warming and the denigration of green energy have become ever more virulent, exhibiting the same self-destructive obedience to the privileges and profits of the status quo.

Aluminum reďŹ ning is the largest industrial user of electricity worldwide, consuming about 15,700 kilowatt hours of electricity per metric ton of aluminum. Since about 70% of electricity production in the USA is produced by burning fossil fuels, production of this metal is inextricably tied to carbon energy. This image shows the bauxite waste from a primary aluminum manufacturer, which is a toxic waste disposal problem due to the contaminants therein.


J Henry Fair photographs the impacts the consumer society has on the support systems that sustain life on the planet. These images

For additional information, or to be put

of toxic waste—beautiful, compelling,

on our mailing list, please contact:

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of

and ultimately terrifying—stimulate the viewer

Katherine Benjamin

Science and Art is a distinguished private

to question their nature, and ultimately create

college of art, architecture and engineering

a dissonance that prompts an examination


founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, an inventor,

of the daily decisions that impact the

industrialist and philanthropist. Since its

infrastructure known as “the environment.”

founding, all admitted students have received

Along with the pictures is an encyclopedia

full-tuition scholarships.

of information which illustrates the location


of the site, processes seen in the images, The Institute for Sustainable Design at

products being made, and the alternative

The Cooper Union was created in 2008, with

products and possibilities available to

support from Jack Rudin, as a resource for

the concerned citizen.

education, research and public understanding of the principles and methods of sustainability

Mr Fair’s first book, The Day After Tomorrow:

in all design disciplines. Central to the mission

Images Of Our Earth In Crisis, was released

of the Institute is the development of

by powerHouse Books, February 1, 2011.

innovative pedagogies in architecture, art and engineering that will be models for the

Mr. Fair’s work is represented in New York

transformation of learning and practice for

by Gerald Peters Gallery:

a sustainable future.

Lily Downing Burke Gerald Peters Gallery

Kevin Bone

24 E 78th Street


New York, NY 10075

The Cooper Union


Institute for Sustainable Design

Professor, The Irwin S. Chanin

School of Architecture







































For more information including the exhibition


bibliography and sources, please visit landscapes-of-extraction


A screening of the film followed by a Q&A

Events in conjunction with LANDSCAPES OF EXTRACTION Presented by

with the Director, Josh Fox.

A FILM BY JOSH FOX “The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom

The Cooper Union

in history has swept across the United States.

Institute for Sustainable Design held in Great Hall

The Halliburton-developed drilling technology


at The Cooper Union

‘The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburtondeveloped drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called “Gasland.” Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.”


ABOUT THE DIRECTOR Filmmaker Josh Fox wrote and directed the documentary feature film Gasland in 2010. Josh’s work is known for its mix of gripping narrative, heightened imagery and its commitment to socially conscious themes and subjects. Fox’s personal documentary takes a look at how gas drilling affects our air and drinking water. Josh Fox’s, “GasLand” is to the dangers of gas drilling what “Silent Spring” was to DDT. Gasland is a rare example of cinema art that is also an organizing tool, the pic has a level of research, gutsiness and energy gets sensational response everywhere it plays.

of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination.

Recently, Josh Fox was awarded the LennonOno Grant for Peace which was created to honour John Lennon’s dedication to peace and commitment to the preservation of human rights.


Gasland is nominated for the prestigious 83rd Academy Award for documentary feature. In 2010, the documentary film was awarded the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize, and recently, Josh Fox received the LennonOno Grant for Peace.


A screening and panel discussion examining America’s struggle to balance its energy needs with environmental concerns.

Written, directed and produced by Bill Haney,



Panelists include: Bill Haney: Award-winning filmmaker and writer, director and producer of The Last Mountain Allen Hershkowitz, Ph.D.: Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council

an award-winning documentary filmmaker, The Last Mountain depicts a passionate and

J. Henry Fair: Photographer, principal artist

personal tale that highlights the extraordinary

“Landscapes of Extraction,” and author

power of ordinary Americans when they fight

of The Day After Tomorrow: Images of Our

for what they believe in. In the valleys of

Earth in Crisis Moderator Liz Judge: Campaign manager

Appalachia, a battle is being fought over a Photo © J Henry Fair


mountain, where the mining giants are pitted against local families who are fighting to preserve their mountain, their heritage and their futures. The documentary, which was featured at the Sundance Film Festival 2011.


PANELISTS Bill Haney Allen Hershkowitz, Ph.D J Henry Fair Moderator Liz Judge

The fight for the last great mountain in America’s heartland pits a mining giant that wants to explode it for its coal against local families fighting to preserve their mountain, their heritage and their futures. The mining and burning of coal is at the epicenter of America's struggle to balance its energy needs and environmental concerns, so the daring solution proposed by this small Appalachian community takes on national significance when Bobby Kennedy, Jr. joins the Appalachian families to fight the extraordinary and insidious power of Big Coal.

A passionate and personal tale that highlights the extraordinary power of ordinary Americans when they fight for what they believe in, The Last Mountain showcases a battle for the future of energy that affects us all.


for Earthjustice’s work to stop mountaintop removal mining. Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting natural resources and defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.



Curated by Steven Hillyer and Sunnie Joh,

1. U.S. Refineries, Pipelines Datasets by

with J Henry Fair




J Henry Fair

January 2011. DEM ESRI Data & Maps 9.3 [CD-ROM]. (2008) Redlands, CA:

Presented By

Graphic Design

The Cooper Union Institute

Sara Jones

for Sustainable Design CUISD

Environmental Systems Research Institute. 2. Tar Sands Leases 2006, Tar Sands Physical


Footprint 2009 by Petr Cizek CIZEK

Zulaikha Ayub, ARCH’13


James Barth, January 2011.

Professor Benjamin Davis,

GTOPO30 Shaded Relief ESRI Data & Maps

The Cooper Union Chemical Engineering

9.3 [CD-ROM]. (2008) Redlands, CA:

Paul Deppe, ARCH’97

Environmental Systems Research Institute.

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture

Bill Haney, and the Production team

3. Tar Sands Leases 2006, Tar Sands Physical

Anthony Vidler, Dean

of The Last Mountain

Footprint 2009 by Petr Cizek CIZEK

Elizabeth O’Donnell, ARCH’83,

Miriam Jones, PhD.


Associate Dean

Joe Levine, NY H20/Damascus Citizens, January 2011.

Monica Shapiro, Administrative Assistant

Raye Levine, ARCH’09

GTOPO30 Shaded Relief ESRI Data & Maps

Pat De Angelis, Secretary

Henry Murdock

9.3 [CD-ROM]. (2008) Redlands, CA:

Kevin Bone, Director Al Appleton, Senior Advisor Sunnie Joh, ARCH’04, Associate Laura Saether, ARCH’10, Associate Arnold Wu, ARCH’09, Advisor

Emmy Mikelson, Assistant to the Deans for Public Programs and Research


The Irwin S. Chanin

Abram Kempthorne, Kempthorne Built

School of Architecture Archive

Pamela Cabrera, ARCH’12

Steven Hillyer, ARCH’90, Director

Jeremy Jacinth, ARCH’13

Sara Jones, Special Projects Assistant

Teddy Kofman, ARCH’13 Jennifer Lee, ARCH’13 Harry Murzyn, ARCH’13 Shiori Sasaki, ARCH’13 Chris Alvarez Anna Flournoy Heather Flournoy Guy Hodges, Beeswax Apiarist Red Leary, Sawyer Curtis John Mitchell

4. Tar Sands Leases 2006, Tar Sands Physical Footprint 2009 Petr Cizek CIZEK ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES 604-486-7005, January 2011. Redlands, CA: Environmental Systems Research Institute, 2011 Bing Maps Microsoft Corporation and its data suppliers

The Institute for Sustainable Design and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture would like to thank the following for contributing to this exhibition: J Henry Fair would like

Petr Cizek, Cizek Environmental Services, for providing digitized geospatial cartographic data on Alberta Tar Sands Extraction

This catalog was designed by Inessa Shkolnikov for

to thank the organizations that have supported his work:

The Center of Design and Typography Academy for Young Writers High School Senior Internship Program Alex Cuff, Supervisor Christina Lange, Intern Jolene Travis, Assistant Director

Printed by Brodock Press Second Edition October 2011

Published by The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

of Public Affairs, Media Relations

Photographs © J Henry Fair

Katherine Benjamin,

Maps and Diagrams © The Cooper Union

J Henry Fair Photography

Institute for Sustainable Design

The Paper used in this catalog is Mohawk silk coated loop, which is made from 50% post consumer fiber Funding generously provided by Natural Resources Defense Council

Landscapes of Extraction: The Collateral Damage of the Fossil Fuels Industries  

Presented by The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture

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