Water & Natural Resources Program Director, Environmental Advocates of New York
Katherine Nadeau is a leading advocate in the fight against hydraulic fracturing, the natural-gas drilling procedure under review in New York.
But while she’s leading the fight, what inspires her is how many regular New Yorkers are fighting too.
“Fracking has brought people together in a way that I don’t think any other issue really has in recent history,” Nadeau says. “People are just getting together at their kitchen tables all across the state working on how to best protect what matters most.”
The issue has kept Nadeau busy for months as she coordinates with environmental groups, publicizes hydrofracking research and lobbies lawmakers on issues like having stricter controls on drilling wastewater.
“Our existing framework doesn’t go nearly far enough to protect our water or our communities from the documented dangers of fracking,” she says. “What the state is proposing, while better in some cases, doesn’t go far enough.”
How did your past jobs get you to where you are now?
“I started off in college working with the New York Public Interest Research Group as a volunteer on my college campus. I really got interested and excited about doing advocacy work in the public interest, so I kept taking jobs that would allow me to keep working on issues I care about. That led to my Environmental Advocates work on water issues, which these days have morphed into all fracking all the time.”
If you were not working in politics, what would you be doing?
“I think I’d be a paramedic or maybe a physician’s assistant. I was a volunteer EMT for a little while with the town of Colonie and loved it. In another life I would have loved to pursue that.”
What will your business card say in five years?
“It will say something strikingly similar, I’m sure. I love working on water issues. So I’d love to keep working in this field.”
If you could have a superpower, what would it be, and why?
“Teleportation. I love traveling all over. I have a lot of friends all over the state, from Buffalo to New York, and it’s just really time-consuming and sometimes annoying to get out to see them all. So I’d love to be able to just zap myself there.”
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