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Strengthening infrastructures of resistance to fossil fuel infrastructures in North America

Type: Paper
Theme: The Changing North American Continent
Sponsor Groups: Black Geographies Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Water Resources Specialty Group
Organizers: Martina Angela Caretta, Kai Bosworth, Pavithra Vasudevan
Chairs: Martina Angela Caretta


Energy independence has been a major policy goal of recent US energy governance regimes. The development of increasingly advanced technologies for oil and gas extraction, in the form of hydraulic fracturing, has been framed as crucial for the well-being of the nation. The magnitude and acceleration of this energy infrastructure development raises concerns about the substantial infrastructural, ecological and social impacts exacerbating socioeconomic inequalities across the US, particularly among poor communities that have been historically disenfranchised in energy decision-making. Unconventional oil and gas extraction and transport often happen in small rural communities and in communities of color; their surroundings are turned into industrial sites, with little input in the development, construction and location of gas pads, pipelines, frac sand mines, and cracker plants. Transmission and distribution networks are developed through eminent domain in the name of ensuring public energy access and distribution, enacting a transfer of land and wealth to private companies profiting heavily from pipeline construction. Landowners and Indigenous communities are required to sacrifice part of their property and territory to allegedly guarantee national energy independence, even while much of the gas could be heading for export (Estes, 2019; Estes and Dhillon 2019; Bosworth, 2019; Finley-Brook et al, 2018; Ordner, 2019; Spice 2018; Whyte, 2017).
We seek scholars invested in conducting research alongside and/or in support of grassroots efforts against energy infrastructure development to join an emergent network against North American extractive industry. This paper session (preceeded by a panel) will focus specifically on critical/feminist geographic research projects committed to repurposing the tools of academic, government and corporate knowledge-making towards justice-oriented projects (Zaragocin 2019; Dalton and Stallmann 2018), to amplify the experiences and political knowledges of communities most deeply impacted by racial capitalism and settler colonialism. We are interested in producing collaborative research on energy infrastructure development in North America that clarifies and compiles the impacts of extractive industries through the integration of trans-disciplinary findings; translates existing knowledges into accessible forms such as graphic narratives and audiovisual testimonials for use in organizing campaigns; and magnifies the utility and political insights of geography towards creating a livable world.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Anna G. Sveinsdottir*, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, McKenzie Johnson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Emily Guske, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The politics of energy infrastructure development in the United States: The Dakota Access Pipeline in Illinois 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Mary Finley-Brook*, University of Richmond, Stephen Metts, The New School, Community Risks from Fracked Gas Pipelines and Power Plants 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Benjamin Rubin*, CUNY - Graduate Center, Stopping “A wall of crude heading our way”: Ports and the local politics of global petro-development 15 12:00 AM
Discussant Armando Garcia Chiang Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana - Iztapalapa 15 12:00 AM
Discussant Thom Davies University of Nottingham 15 12:00 AM

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