The author seeks to educate | News, Sports, Jobs

Joel Burcat wanted to educate people about the natural gas industry, especially its impact on a small community in Pennsylvania.

As a fiction writer, he takes a slightly different approach without taking sides on the often contentious issue.

His novel, “Strange Fire” aims to inform but also entertain readers.

In a recent interview with the Sun-Gazette, Burcat described the recently published book as an environmental thriller.

As a retired environmental lawyer, writing a story about a fight between the gas industry and landowners felt like a call to Burcat.

“I wanted to write a book on hydraulic fracturing” he said. “I knew a lot. Bradford County seemed like a good place for it.

Burcat, 67, of Harrisburg, made an effort to present both sides of the issue in his story.

“I want people who are pro-fracking to learn more about the environmental perspective. I want the anti-fracking to learn something from the drillers,” he said. “The divide in this country is terrible.”

At the same time, he acknowledged that he had an opinion on the matter.

“I would like to see us move away from fossil fuels. This war in Ukraine demonstrates that we have to do that,” he said. “On the other hand, I don’t want to hit people over the head with my point of view.”

In Burcat’s novel, the water supply serving residents of a small community in Bradford County has been contaminated, possibly by the 24-hour operations of Yukon Oil and Gas.

Entrepreneurs disappear and a passionate young prosecutor is the main character of the story.

Burcat had long wanted to write, and his many years of environmental law practice provided him with the context for the story.

“One thing I try to do in all of my books is bring in a lot of science and engineering,” he said.

However, he is quick to note that he does not want to bore the reader with science or engineering, but rather weave them into the story.

“Strange Fire” is Burcat’s third work of fiction.

His two previous novels in the environmental thriller genre include “In the Middle of Rage” pitting a coal mine operator against neighbors fighting over a surface mine permit.

“The environment is something I know” he said. “I feel like I can contribute.”

Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox

About Karren Campbell

Check Also

Bangalore: Academics and authors call for scrapping of new textbooks

Writers and scholars under the All India Save Education Committee (AISEC), Karnataka, on Wednesday called …