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Broadwater controversy topic of symposium

by Gregory Stone - March 26, 2007

“Politics, Science and Journalism: Unraveling the Truth in the Broadwater Controversy” will be the topic of a symposium of journalists and scientists April 4 at the Avery Point campus.

The symposium, which is open to the public, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Branford House. A reception will follow.

The event, sponsored by The Day (New London) and UConn at Avery Point, will bring together leading marine scientists at the University and environmental journalists from New York and Connecticut to discuss the challenges scientists and the press face when informing the public about complicated scientific issues in the political arena.

Helen Rozwadowski, director of the maritime studies program at Avery Point and an associate professor of history, will be moderator.

The panelists will be Tom Anderson, author of This Fine Piece of Water: An Environmental History of Long Island Sound, published by Yale University Press; Peter Auster, director of the National Undersea Research Center at Avery Point and associate research professor of marine sciences; Judy Benson, environmental reporter at The Day; and Frank Bohlen, professor of marine sciences.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is considering a proposal by two leading energy companies to locate a floating liquid natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound.

Supporters of the project say it will meet crucial energy needs in New York and Connecticut.

But opponents, including the State of Connecticut, question the regulatory agency’s findings that the environmental impact from the project is manageable.

Scientists, including Auster, have questioned the thoroughness of the work that went into that conclusion.

A decision is expected later this year.

The panel will discuss the challenges the press faces getting to the bottom of conflicting scientific evidence and making sense of it for the public and political decision-makers.

he challenges include economic pressures on the media that have left many news organizations short of time and manpower to devote to specialized reporting of this complexity.

Seating is limited, and reservations are recommended. To reserve a seat, call Lisa Poole at 860 405-9262, or e-mail her: lisa.poole@uconn.edu.

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