FracTracker Expands Westward

By Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance

The FracTracker Alliance is coming to California. The generous support of the Palo Alto-based 11th Hour Project, a working program of the Schmidt Family Foundation, has enabled us to hire Kyle Ferrar, MPH to be our first program coordinator in the state. Kyle – an accomplished researcher who has studied the fate and effect of contaminants transported through environmental media and has extensive experience in GIS, policy analysis, and risk communication – will have his hands full. While California has a legacy of oil and gas development, the advent and scale of modern extraction technologies poses risks to the complexion of the landscape, the integrity of natural resources, the safety of agricultural commodities, the health of people and animals – wild and domestic – and the fabric of local communities. With two-thirds of the United States’ total estimated shale oil reserves in California’s Monterey Shale (a formation covering 1,750 square miles), the state could soon be overwhelmed by the demand for these energy riches.

In his new role with FracTracker, Kyle will collect and analyze data, develop maps and articles, train and coordinate volunteers, present and display at events and symposia, and network with a variety of organizations, agencies, and the news media – all toward improving the effectiveness and reach of our work. Our California operations will be based at the HUB in Berkeley. The HUB is an innovative shared workspace with maximum opportunity to connect to other people, organizations, and ideas. And if that work environment wasn’t inspiring enough, the HUB in Berkeley is located at the David Brower Center, a very green (LEED Platinum!) building and home to numerous conservation organizations.

Adding additional wisdom to our Pacific coast presence, FracTracker welcomes Brian Segee as the newest member of our board of directors. Brian is a Staff Attorney at the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara, a group with a legacy of addressing oil issues and other topics of importance to FracTracker.

To Kyle, Brian, and the 11th Hour project, a great big thanks for your commitment to us and what we do. Together may we cast a helpful light in the golden state!