Russell Gold
Wall Street Journal energy reporter, Russell Gold

West Virginia State University (WVSU) will sponsor a forum on fracking and the Shale Revolution on Tuesday, Sept. 29, highlighted by a keynote address beginning at 7 p.m. by award-winning Wall Street Journal energy reporter Russell Gold.

All events for the “Fracking: In the Beginning Was the Source Rock” forum will take place in room 134 of the Wilson University Union and are free and open to the public.

Gold is the author of “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World,” published by Simon and Shuster in 2014, which weaves together the many threads that make up the complex story of fracking.  His book has been praised by reviewers such as Ed Crooks, energy editor for The Financial Times, and energy expert and Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Yergin as presenting a clear and balanced view of a very complex story.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that between 2012 and 2035, the increase in well drilling is expected to be an estimated 17,000-35,000 natural gas wells and 9,000 to 10,000 oil wells per year.

In the book, Gold talks about the many working hours he has put in while talking to people who work in the industry and who live near its wells.

“I think about how much energy the world consumes and where it comes from.  There are no easy answers to the energy puzzle.  There are unforeseen costs and necessary evils,” Gold writes in “The Boom.”

In 2010, Gold was a part of The Wall Street Journal’s investigative team that reported on the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The team won the Gerald Loeb Award for best business story of the year, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Following Gold’s keynote address, will be a panel discussion with questions from the audience, as well as a book signing and refreshments.

The forum will begin at 11 a.m. with a presentation by Bill Hughes, chair of the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority, and a member of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and the FracTracker Alliance. Then at 12:30 p.m., Gold will meet one-on-one with students over pizza and refreshments.

Dr. Carol Taylor Johnson, professor of English and program director, said an educational institution such as WVSU can awaken student voices while providing a safe place for discussion of a controversial topic.

“In a deliberative and participatory democracy, those who become knowledgeable of the changes brought on by a particular technology such as hydraulic fracturing will be able to obtain the proper channels of information,” she said. “Citizens will have to decide how we should protect our environment and yet pursue a sustainable energy policy.”

The forum is sponsored by the West Virginia State University Cultural Activities Committee. For more information on other upcoming cultural events at WVSU, visit