Public Radio’s “BURN: An Energy Journal” Rolls Out Two-Hour Election Special Exploring the Impact of Individuals, New Ideas and Revolutionary Technologies on the National Energy Debate
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Public Radio’s BURN: An Energy Journal is back this Fall with a two-hour Election Special titled “The Power of One,” a far-ranging examination of how individuals, new scientific ideas, grassroots initiatives and potentially game-changing inventions are informing the energy debate in this Presidential Election year, and redefining America’s quest for greater energy independence. Produced by Peabody Award-winning SoundVision Productions © and anchored by one of public radio’s most trusted journalists and master storytellers, Alex Chadwick, BURN’s Election Special is being fed to Public Radio’s nationwide network of 600-plus stations on September 26 and 27. Each station will decide how and when to air the documentary special (check your local listings) before Election Day on November 6, 2012.
For BURN: An Energy Journal’s Election Special, Chadwick and a team of experienced reporters do what Public Radio does best – find intimate, human-scale stories to explore the complicated energy challenges that face communities all over the country and around the world.
The two-hour documentary special features these stories:
> Once it was oil, now it’s natural gas that fires up hopes for energy self-sufficiency in America. Much of this fossil fuel is found in Pennsylvania, in an underground geologic repository called the Marcellus Shale. Extraction involves a politically volatile technology called hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” Alex Chadwick draws out the stories of a handful of Pennsylvanians whose lives have been jolted, for better or worse, by the rush on natural gas. Alex’s reporting is supplemented online by powerful photographs taken by National Geographic photographer and Pennsylvania resident Lynn Johnson.
> The oil-rich Arctic Ocean is in the crosshairs of the search for new energy reserves. Billion-dollar-exploration scenarios are playing out across the circumpolar North — in Russia, Norway, Greenland and in the U.S. In Alaska, it’s happening right now, with the Obama administration’s election year blessing. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Arctic holds about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas resources. The Alaska reserves are potentially so large that, once tapped, the bounty would mean an unprecedented level of energy security for the United States. BURN reporter Elizabeth Arnold takes listeners to the far north — two hundred miles above the Arctic Circle to the top of Alaska, where Inupiaq (Native Alaskan) Eskimos are torn between the benefits of new oil development and the risks Arctic oil will pose to their thousand-year-old whaling culture.
> Wind, solar, electric cars – all have a toehold in the American energy mix, but there’s one technical dilemma holding them back: batteries. There’s an international race on to build a better battery. The people in that race will not only shift our energy future, they stand to make a lot of money. Amy Prieto, a chemist at Colorado State, has formulated a cell-phone-sized prototype that recharges in five minutes, discharges slowly, can last for years and is manufactured using water instead of toxic chemicals. Chadwick visits Prieto and her team to learn just what the “Prieto Battery” is all about.
> President Obama likes wind turbines. Mitt Romney, not so much. But on November 6 voters in Michigan will decide for themselves. BURN’s reporter for this story is veteran public radio producer Scott Carrier<strike>. </strike>
Chadwick also talks with Carol Browner, former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy and ex-administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, about why energy/climate legislation is harder to pass than health care. He interviews an eccentric inventor and racecar enthusiast in Venice, California, who is constructing a super-fast, green car – with an electric engine capable of going from zero-to-60 mph in three seconds. Finally, the Election Special host speaks with a former Energy Department scientist who spearheaded an all-out government offensive in search of game-changing energy technologies.
BURN: An Energy Journal is produced by SoundVision Productions in partnership with APM’s Marketplace with a grant from the National Science Foundation. The BURN radio specials are distributed by American Public Media. Share your ideas and opinions with BURN on Facebook.
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