Fellowship Project: Assessing Capacity for Deployments of Data and Technology in Public Engagements with Oil and Gas Pipeline Projects
Kirk Jalbert is an Assistant Professor at Department of Environment and Sustainability in the University at Buffalo. He directs the Civic Science for Environmental Futures Collaborative, a space exploring participatory action research projects driven by communities working to create more equitable environment futures. Kirk’s personal research explores public engagements with environmental science and governance that emerge from energy justice movements and how these are shaped by data mobilizations, information technologies, and grassroots scientific research efforts. His work additionally seeks to understand the social, political, and technical dynamics that make for effective academic, nonprofit, and community-based research partnerships.
Prior to joining ASU, Kirk worked in the nonprofit sector, facilitating data transparency, mapping, and digital storytelling projects as Manager of Community-Based Research and Engagement for the FracTracker Alliance. He also served on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board from 2016 to 2018. His recent edited volume, ExtrACTION: Impacts, Engagements and Alternative Futures, examines global opposition to resource extraction from a critical ethnographic perspective, exploring why and how resistance movements seek to change extraction policies.
Kirk received his Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his M.F.A. in Media Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Tufts, and a B.S. in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Assessing Capacity for Deployments of Data and Technology in Public Engagements with Oil and Gas Pipeline Projects
Oil and gas pipelines are a new flashpoint in an environmental movement mobilizing against the fossil fuel industry. However, knowledge gaps and power asymmetries can prevent communities from making sense of these large-scale infrastructure projects. One response is the rise of advocacy coalitions developing resources and expertise to contest official impact assessments of pipelines, where obtaining, analyzing, and mobilizing around environmental and public health data is a cornerstone of their mobilizing strategies. The objective of this study is to understand the nature of these technical practices, how such practices inform legal and political campaigns, and the extent to which their enactment furthermore shapes coalition member’s understanding of environmental and public health issues pertaining to pipelines. This study is intellectually significant in its potential to identify how unique forms of public engagement in regulatory processes may reduce the environmental and public health risks of large-scale infrastructure projects, as well as create pathways for a more educated public.