Science, Democracy and Community Decisions on Fracking: Featured Speakers

Edward Parson

Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

Parson is the Dan and Rae Emmett Professor of Environmental Law and Faculty co-director of the Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles. He studies international environmental law and policy, the role of science and technology in policy-making, and the political economy of regulation. His articles have appeared in numerous publications including Science, Nature and the Journal of Economic Literature. His most recent books are The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change (Cambridge 2010, 2nd edition, with Andrew Dessler) and Protecting the Ozone Layer: Science and Strategy (Oxford, 2003), which won the 2004 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award of the International Studies Association. Parson has led and served on multiple advisory committees, for the National Academy of Sciences and the US Global Change Research Program. He was formerly Joseph L. Sax Collegiate Professor of Law, Professor of Natural Resources and Environment, and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and spent twelve years on the faculty of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Parson has also worked and consulted for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Technology Assessment of the US Congress, the Privy Council Office of the Government of Canada, the UN Environment Program, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Kathleen Rest

Executive Director, Union of Concerned Scientists

As executive director of UCS, Rest manages the organization’s day-to-day affairs, supervising all program departments on issues ranging from climate change to global security. Rest came to UCS from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she was the deputy director for programs. Prior to her work with the federal govern- ment, Rest was an associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and an adjunct associate professor at the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health. She has extensive experience as a researcher and advisor on occupational and environmental health issues in countries such as Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Rest was a founding member of the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, and has also served as the chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health. Rest earned her doctorate in health policy from Boston University and her master’s degree in public administration, with a focus on health services, from the University of Arizona.

Adrienne Alvord

Western States Director, Union of Concerned Scientists

Based in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ West Coast office in Berkeley, CA, Alvord is working to ensure we transition to an economy powered by clean energy and fuels that reduces global warming, promotes equitable economic growth, and improves public health, with a focus on western states. Alvord is leading the UCS effort to ensure robust implementation of the state’s landmark climate law, the California Global Warming Solutions Act (also known as AB 32). She also is working to ensure California’s renewable energy and clean vehicle standards are enforced.

Henry A. Waxman

U.S. Representative (D-CA)


Representative Waxman represents California’s thirty-third congressional district. A longtime champion of public health and environmental issues, he has fought for universal health insurance, comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid coverage, air and water quality standards, pesticide regulations, nursing home quality standards, women’s health research and reproductive rights, affordable prescription drugs, and communities’ right to know about pollution levels. Waxman has sponsored numerous bills that have become law. He was one of the primary architects of the Affordable Care Act, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the Ryan White CARE Act, and the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. He has also led the fight against global warming; in 1992, he introduced the first bill in Congress to stabilize the climate, and he co-authored the American Clean Energy and Security Act that passed the House of Representatives in 2009.


Kevin Hurst, chair, science working group

Former Assistant Director for Energy R&D at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Hurst is a technology and energy policy consultant with 17 years of experience in government and industry. Prior to launching an independent consulting practice in June 2013, Hurst was the assistant director for energy R&D at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he served for more than 10 years under both President George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Hurst’s portfolio at the Office of Science and Technology Policy included unconventional oil and gas, advanced transportation, clean power generation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technologies. Prior to the White House, Hurst worked as a senior engineer for General Motors, where he led the development of the power electronics module for a heavy-duty hybridelectric drive system. Before joining General Motors, he worked on aircraft power systems at Sundstrand Aerospace, a division of United Technologies Corporation. Prior to graduate school, he served four years in the U.S. Navy as division officer on a submarine tender. He holds a BS in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech.

Amy Myers Jaffe

Executive Director for Energy and Sustainability, University of California–Davis

Jaffe is a leading expert on global energy policy, geopolitical risk, and energy and sustainability. Jaffe serves as executive director for energy and sustainability at University of California–Davis with a joint appointment to the Graduate School of Management and Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis). At ITS-Davis, Jaffe heads the fossil fuel component of Next STEPS (Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways). Before joining UC Davis, Jaffe served as director of the Energy Forum and Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. Jaffe’s research focuses on oil and natural gas geopolitics, strategic energy policy, corporate investment strategies in the energy sector, and energy economics. She was formerly senior editor and Middle East analyst for Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. Jaffe is widely published, including as co-author of Oil, Dollars, Debt, and Crises: The Global Curse of Black Gold (2010) and co-editor of Energy in the Caspian Region: Present and Future (2002) and Natural Gas and Geopolitics: From 1970 to 2040 (2006). Jaffe was the honoree for Esquire’s annual “Best and Brightest” in the “Contribution to Society” category (2005) and Elle magazine’s “Women for the Environment” (2006), and was a recipient of the 1994 excellence in writing prize from the International Association for Energy Economics.

Kate Konschnik, chair, policy working group

Policy Director, Environmental Law and Policy Program, Harvard Law School

At Harvard Law School, Konschnik recently launched an environmental policy initiative that will focus on providing sharp legal analysis at the right time, and in the right format, to decision makers on ongoing debates about environmental, climate, and energy issues. Before joining the Environmental Law and Policy Program, Konschnik was chief environmental counsel to U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and staff director for the Oversight Subcommittee on the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works. For seven years, she worked in the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division as an environmental enforcement trial attorney, representing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Fish & Wildlife Service, and other federal agencies in litigation involving the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the federal Superfund program, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. She holds a BA in political science from Tufts University and a JD from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law.

Felicia Marcus

Chair, CA Water Resources Control Board

Marcus was appointed to the California State Water Resources Control Board by Governor Jerry Brown in 2012. She came to this position from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where she served as the western director. Prior to joining NRDC, Marcus was the executive vice president/ chief operating officer of the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit devoted to conserving land for people. She also previously served as the regional administrator of EPA Region IX under the Clinton administration, where she was known for her work in bringing unlikely allies together for environmental progress and for making the agency more responsive to the communities it serves. Marcus currently serves on many nonprofit boards and advisory councils including the UCS National Advisory Board, Public Policy Institute of California, Kesten Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, and the Center for Diversity and the Environment. She is also currently an Obama administration appointee to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation-Joint Public Advisory Council (United States, Mexico, Canada) and was a Schwarzenegger administration appointee to California’s Delta Stewardship Council prior to being appointed to the Water Board.

Tom Wilber


Wilber is the author of Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale (2012), and of the acclaimed Shale Gas Review blog. Wilber has received several accolades for his coverage of shale gas, including Best of Gannett (2010) and awards from the New York State Associated Press Association (2009–2010) and New York State Newspaper Publishers Association (2008). Under the Surface was selected as a finalist for the 2013 New York Public Library Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. Wilber has been in the newspaper business for more than 20 years and has written for the Central New York Business Journal and the Watertown Daily Times. For 17 years, he worked for the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, covering business, health, and environment beats. From 1992 through 2005, he taught various journalism courses as an adjunct professor at Broome Community College and Binghamton University (State University of New York).


Jose Bravo

Executive Director, Just Transition Alliance

Bravo is a leader in national and California-based chemicals policy reform work, and a leader in green chemistry as a member of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families as well as Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE). CHANGE is a coalition of environmental health, policy, labor, environmental justice, interfaith, and other organizations that are working to create a better system for regulating toxic chemicals in California. Bravo also serves on the steering committee of the State Alliance for Federal Reform of Chemicals Policy, also known as Safer States, which is an alliance of organizations in key states working to create a pre-market testing system and regulation for all chemicals. In his role at the Just Transition Alliance, Bravo works directly with environmental justice (EJ) communities and labor communities (both organized and unorganized). His work in social justice is rooted in his upbringing in the Southern California farm fields alongside both his parents; he has also worked on immigrant rights issues since his days as a student organizer in the 1980s. Bravo has participated in the EJ movement since 1990, and over the years he has gained recognition as a national and international EJ leader. He also serves on the board of Communities for a Better Environment.

Todd Russell Platts

Former U.S. Representative, R-PA


Representative Platts represented the nineteenth district of Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001 until January 2013. In 2010, Esquire named him one of its “10 Best Members of Congress.” During his tenure in Congress, Platts was a strong advocate of a more open and efficient government, fighting for reforms to make federal agencies more fiscally accountable and transparent, and working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle on numerous major legislative initiatives. In 2007, he was the lead Republican sponsor of the first increase in fuel efficiency standards signed into law in more than 30 years. He was also the lead Republican sponsor of legislation signed into law in 2009 that, for the first time, gave the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products. Platts chaired the Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency, and Financial Management for six years. A lifelong resident of York, PA, Platts earned a BS in public administration from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 1984. He then attended Pepperdine University School of Law, graduating with a JD in 1991.

Andrew Rosenberg

Director, Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists

Andrew A. Rosenberg is director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has more than 25 years of experience in government service and academic and non-profit leadership. He is the author of scores of peer-reviewed studies and reports on fisheries and ocean management and has published on the intersection between science and policy making. Rosenberg came to UCS from Conservation International, where he served for two years as the organization’s senior vice president for science and knowledge. Previously, he served as the northeast regional administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he negotiated recovery plans for New England and mid-Atlantic fishery resources, endangered species protections and habitat conservation programs. He later became deputy director of the service. Rosenberg is also the convening lead author of the oceans chapter of the U.S. Climate Impacts Advisory Panel. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Ocean Studies Board and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. He is a professor of natural resources and the environment at the University of New Hampshire, where he previously served as dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. Rosenberg received his Ph.D. in biology from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada and previously studied oceanography at Oregon State University and fisheries biology at the University of Massachusetts.

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