Dear Friends and Followers of FracTracker,
I write to you in the heart (and heat!) of summer with a special greeting and message. To those of you who have followed FracTracker for years, a warm hello! To those of you who may be joining us for the first time, a hearty welcome!
I’ve been involved with FracTracker since its inception as a website in 2010. The impetus that drives us – discovering, documenting, mapping and analyzing the incidences and many effects of unconventional energy extraction – coalesced into a non-profit organization in 2012. The organization was seeded by grants from philanthropic stalwarts like The Heinz Endowments, which recognized the critical value of FracTracker’s work and wanted to ensure that our scholarship, maps, analyses and insights reached as wide an audience as possible. Some of my proudest memories from those early years include the evolution of our interactive state shale viewers like this one for PA, which are easy to use and allow anyone to witness the expanding footprint of drilling, and our mapping of local bans and moratoria in New York State that culminated in a statewide ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing in December 2014. Many of these FracTracker projects are especially useful to grantees of the Foundation for PA Watersheds, the organization I direct.
Every year, we build on these efforts, expanding our scope to investigate more aspects of the ever-proliferating fossil fuel industry – frac sand mining, oil trains, pipelines, offshore drilling. We also have become an increasingly important ally to the advocacy community, providing mapping and analytical services to support reports and campaigns aimed at strengthening regulations and perpetuating a safer energy future. We helped the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) produce “Fracking’s Most Wanted” – a report examining the pervasive occurrence of spills and violations committed by oil and gas companies. Recently, we worked with Earthworks and Clean Air Task Force to develop the Oil and Gas Threat Map to make the public and decision makers aware that methane pollution is a ubiquitous health threat that should be addressed with strong governmental standards.
As FracTracker approaches its 5th year as an organization, we arrive at a new stage in our growth. Our mission has evolved to include exploration of renewable energy to show and champion the tremendous potential and benefit of these technologies.
Maintaining our robust activities addressing oil and gas development and illuminating a better energy path forward has become more challenging. Foundational grants provide only a portion of our operational needs. Private donations can – and must – augment that support if we are to continue our critical work in the coming years. As the planet’s temperature continues to rise and the fossil fuel folks continue to drill, the importance of FracTracker’s scrupulous, comprehensive, visually impactful and freely accessible data and analysis becomes more urgent every day.
We embark, then, on an initiative to launch the FracTracker Fund. We invite donations of any and every level from individuals who value our work, who are concerned about the harms of fracking and fossil fuel dependency, who are passionate about renewable energy issues, who love maps, who love data, and whose curiosity about what is really happening out there leads them to our website.
Please consider a gift to FracTracker Alliance and help empower a healthier planet for all. You can visit our website to make a gift or contact Rebecca Vollmer at 917.734.4689 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss a gift. Your generosity is so greatly appreciated.