Derek Brown, a senior communication major from Alderson-Broaddus College, won the first intercollegiate debate sponsored by the WV Water Research Institute held as part of their conference at the Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown.
The topic for debate was: Resolved: The state of West Virginia should establish all necessary water quality regulations which shall include substantial civil and criminal penalties to protect the aquatic resources of the state of West Virginia from water withdraw activities associated with Marcellus Shale operations.
Brown supported the resolution and presented a case outlining the current harms of Marcellus Shale drilling on our waterways. One of the critical issues was the shortage of state inspectors.
Derek won the debate with a 5-0 decision of the judges representing the US Department of Energy, WV Department of Environmental Protection, WV Oil and Gas Association, an environmental researcher, and a non-profit organization. Dave Saville, coordinator of the debate for the WV Water Resources Institute, commented, "Derek was exceptional in the debate!"
Brown said, "The research alerted me to an issue that I knew little about." He is now using his research in informative speaking in intercollegiate competition to continue educating others about the dangers that we all face if regulations are not put in place and inspectors are not hired to make sure the regulations are followed.
Representing the negative and losing the debate was Jacob Leonard from Shepherd University.