The chapter examines the politicization of health knowledge in the context of energy development by analysing exposure limits to toxins. Questions are raised pertaining to how the state governs energy workplaces and energy workers’ health by considering its underlying assumptions and techniques. Drawing insights from the regulation of occupational exposure to toxins in the USA, the state is conceptualized as a governing apparatus that has emerged over the last century to manage, coordinate and improve elements of society. While heterogeneous in nature, this apparatus finds authority within broad responsibilities for society, namely, for human health and economic activities. To illustrate ways that the state operates at the intersection of health and energy, the chapter examines the health-energy nexus, offering examples of the state’s response to human health impacts from fossil fuels. The chapter then turns to the state’s efforts to regulate occupational exposures to silica, with a specific focus on the US hydraulic fracturing industry.
Patrick Bresnihan and Arielle Hesse
This chapter examines community enterprises to reframe water politics in Ireland. In 2014, Ireland controversially transferred responsibility for public water delivery to Irish Water Ltd., a semi-state water utility, and introduced domestic water charges and metering to incentivize conservation and raise revenue for needed infrastructural upgrades. Controversy hinged on issues of public versus private funding as widespread opposition saw meters and charges as an extension of austerity policies that had followed the 2008 financial collapse. While meters and charges were reversed, the debate overlooked the experiences of approximately 400 community-managed rural water suppliers that supply roughly seven per cent of Ireland’s drinking water. These community enterprises, Group Water Schemes (GWS), offer a counterpoint to dominant water politics. Examining GWS’ relationships to the state, their communities, and their waters, complicates divisions of public and private, state and non-state, and reframes Irish water politics to open up new sites of political intervention and amplification.