We’re pretty jazzed that the venerable Utne Reader picked up our article on fracking for its March issue. “Welcome to Frackville” by Kim Sorvig appeared in the June 2013 issue of LAM, and it’s part of Utne’s themed issue on global climate and environmental issues. Utne’s recognition of Sorvig’s piece helps to underscore the ways in which the work of landscape architecture is becoming increasingly critical to cities, regions, and nations that are feeling the effects of fast-unfolding environmental issues and climate change. Here, Sorvig heads to Pennsylvania to try to piece together the many facets of fracking in the landscape.
The ground is pockmarked with pads and pits, the sky aflame with waste gas flaring from tall stacks, visible for miles. “I’ve been to public meetings where drillers say they don’t want to flare; they’d rather be more green,” White says. But new wells are still flared for the first few weeks, when gas may be contaminated. Lack of pipeline and storage capacity may also result in burn-offs. Below us, a flare towers directly over a high-school running track.