2022 Projects

Environmental Health and Justice

This research project group focused on Morgantown's proposed "science center" in the Industrial Park with inspiration from the book Amity and Prosperity by journalist Eliza Griswold. The project was conducted to understand community concern as it relates to emerging crypto-currency and how it effects the environment, and local communities. Understanding the fears, doubts, and anxieties of the anticipatory development project provides insight into technological intersections within the material world. To gain a better understanding of the crypto-currency world, we conducted background research and reviewed public site permits. Along with this, an anonymous questionnaire and interviews with public officials were done to get the public's perspective on the "science center." The environmental impacts of crypto-currency on local communities are still unknown to many in the general public. Through our research, we hope that making this knowledge more widespread will impact how this facility moves forward with regulating the environmental impacts and understanding what it could do to a small town.

Corporate Strategies

The Corporate Strategies group aimed to focus on the gaslighting, lies, and information that natural gas companies alter, manipulate, and keep from the public. The research was primarily centered on Southwestern Pennsylvania, including Washington, Allegheny, and Greene counties. The group’s research included community outreach, participant observation, semi-structured interviews, as well as primary and secondary literature reviews. The group also engaged in visual ethnography, and analyzed data through personal fieldnotes. As a group, they traveled to both Amity, and Prosperity, Pennsylvania, on March 26, 2022, to conduct their own observational research in the area. They interviewed key stakeholders, including local activists, residents negatively affected and displaced by fracking, and the parents of a child who was sickened and died from cancer that they attribute to exposure to fracking chemicals. The group found that companies, specifically Range Resources and Olympus Energy, will purposefully alter and lie about information in order for their companies to appear more eco-friendly and "neighborly."

Science and Regulation

The Science and Regulation group's research focused on the impacts of the endangered Candy Darter fish in the fight for regulatory action against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Through a series of interviews conducted over Zoom and group attendance at a national anti-MVP rally, we analyzed how activists and community members mobilized or did not mobilize the Candy Darter as a symbol of the resistance. We wanted to know the ways in which the Candy Darter exerted agency over the discussion and actions of both the environmentalist groups and the pipeline companies. Using a multispecies ethnography approach, we discovered its centrality in permits, court documents, and legal proceedings surrounding the MVP- all of which have created roadblocks for construction. Overall, we found that, while the Candy Darter was notably absent from general public discussions about the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the fish served as an effective partner for many environmentalist groups fighting against the MVP. Its unique status as an endangered species directly affected by construction proved to be a valuable asset for environmental education and advocacy, organizational fundraising, and regulatory legal action.