Speakers: Mark Abolins, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Middle Tennessee State University and Michael K. Burton, Supervisor, Tennessee Oil and Gas Program
Natural gas exploration has arrived in the Volunteer State! Dr. Mark Abolins, an Associate Professor in the Middle Tennessee State University Geosciences Department, and Michael Burton, Supervisor of the Tennessee Oil and Gas Program, will lead a discussion of this often controversial practice. Learn the complexities involving local environmental concerns, on one hand, and a variety of potential benefits on the other. Concerns involve (but are not limited to) potential water pollution and the potential to trigger earthquakes, and benefits can include reduced greenhouse gas emissions relative to coal, lower consumer energy costs, domestic as opposed to foreign energy production, and job creation.
Mark Abolins, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Geosciences Department. He has a broad education in natural science including a bachelor’s degree in geology and integrative biology from the University of California, Berkeley and a doctorate in geology from the California Institute of Technology. Working with numerous colleagues at MTSU, Dr. Abolins is currently in the first year of a three year National Science Foundation project in which future science teachers engage in environmental research. His own part of the larger project concerns the study of fractures and their connection to groundwater movement in central Tennessee. His research and educational efforts are not funded by the energy industry or environmental groups.
Michael K. Burton, is supervisor of the Tennessee Oil and Gas Program. He has been in this position since 1996. As supervisor he is responsible for the permitting and environmental issues for all oil and gas sites within the state. Prior to his current position, Mr. Burton worked for the Well Head Protection Program at the State of Tennessee, as a geologist and engineer technician with Geologic Associates, and as a geologist with ERM Southeast. He received his BS in Geology from the University of Tennessee at Martin and his MS in Geology from the University of Memphis.