An inter-governmental hearing on hydrofracking for natural gas is examined. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently released an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and takes questions from the New York State Assembly. Assembly members pose concerns with the EIS. The DEC’s responses at times appear to not address the question, but rather to challenge or rework the question in a way that can be answered from the DEC perspective. Assembly members assess seeming evasive answers in critical ways. This interactional pattern is examined from a discursive analysis perspective as problem–accounts–assessments sequences. Especially notable are the discursive practices of reported speech and metadiscourse in these accounting sequences. The conflicting assessments are not based on ‘the facts’, but on which facts are relevant. The DEC can be heard as advocating for their draft of the EIS despite the concerns raised by the Assembly. At certain junctures, Assembly members accuse the DEC of being biased or evasive, which does not make for the trust needed to reach consensus. At stake in this hearing is the construction of environmental or public health risk and whether or not to permit hydrofracking.
- environmental controversy
- environmental impact statement
- inter-governmental hearing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Linguistics and Language