FracTracker Alliance News


If you are a journalist interested in our research or in interviewing one of our staff for a news piece, please contact  FracTracker’s Manager of Communications Shannon Smith.

Press Kit

Includes logos, staff photos, and contact information

Recent In The News

Below are select, recent articles in the press covering FracTracker Alliance and/or our work.

Support amplifies for proposed state methane rule

June 24, 2020 – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

All of the 32 speakers at Tuesday evening’s virtual public hearing voiced degrees of support for the state Department of Environmental Protection’s proposal to limit emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds at shale gas operations. Read More.

New report finds increased threat from radioactive oil & gas waste in North Dakota

June 18, 2020 – Earthworks

A new report released today by the national environmental nonprofit Earthworks reveals that North Dakota’s massive surge in fracking wastewater production, also known as “produced water,” has potentially increased North Dakotans exposure to carcinogens, heavy metals, and radioactivity. Read More.

Shell’s Falcon Pipeline Dogged by Issues with Drilling and Permit Uncertainty During Pandemic

June 15, 2020 – DeSmog Blog

Over the past few months, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, Shell Pipeline Company has pressed onward with the construction of a 97-mile pipeline running through Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Shell plans to use the Falcon pipeline to supply its $6 billion plastics plant currently being built in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, with ethane, a raw material pulled from shale wells in the state and from neighboring Ohio. Read More.

Bike Messengers

June 12, 2020 – Grist

On Saturday, as protests demanding racial justice and an end to police violence took over New York City, a separate but related demonstration wound its way through Brooklyn echoing those cries and adding a few more. This other protest took place on bikes, as a few dozen New Yorkers rode the route of a partially constructed natural gas pipeline. Read More.

Proof of Harm To CA’s Unborn From Proximity To Oil Wells Proves Need For Barrier Between Wells And People, Says Consumer Watchdog

June 4, 2020 – Consumer Watchdog

The first definitive study showing perinatal harm from oil production in California to pregnant mothers proves that the state must institute a barrier of 2,500 feet between residents and oil wells and stop issuing new oil permits for wells within that zone, Consumer Watchdog said today. Read More.

May 2020 OilWire bulletin: The USD 77 billion per year edition

May 29, 2020 – Oil Change International

“As the world grapples with the unprecedented disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis continues to devastate lives and livelihoods.” If there was not enough for the world to deal with, industry is making moves. Oil Change International produces the monthly OilWire bulletin in collaboration with the Global Gas & Oil Network, this month featuring FracTracker’s story on intensive water use by the fossil fuel industry in Pennsylvania. Read More.

Spotlight on Green News & Views: Backyard avian maternity ward; memories of Mt. St. Helens

May 23, 2020 – Daily Kos

Included in this roundup is FracTracker’s contribution to a letter to CA Gov. Newsom. “This morning a coalition of 100 labor and environmental groups sent a letter asking California Governor Gavin Newsom and California State Legislators to ‘protect people and not polluters’ during this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.”
Read More.

Labor and Environmental Groups Ask Governor to ‘Protect People and Not Polluters

May 19, 2020 – Indy Bay

On May 18, a coalition of 100 labor and environmental groups sent a letter asking California Governor Gavin Newsom and California State Legislators to “protect people and not polluters” during this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. Read More.

ExxonMobil Seeks to Restart Three Platforms Idled After Refugio Oil Spill

May 15, 2020 – Indy Bay

“On the anniversary of this deadly oil spill, in the middle of a public health crisis, Santa Barbara should embrace a clean energy future,” said Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We need to end offshore drilling, not bring it back to life with another dirty oil pipeline.”
Read More.

New California oil permits rose 7.8% in 2020’s first quarter as oil prices plunged

May 9, 2020 – Indy Bay

From January 1 to March 31, 2020, the same time that the Newsom Administration approved 1,623 new permits, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in California, spent $1,089,702 lobbying state officials during the period. Read More.

CA Oil Well Permits Under Gov. Newsom Outpace First Quarter Last Year In Loss For Public Health, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance Report

May 7, 2020 – Consumer Watchdog

As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, new oil well permits under Gov. Gavin Newsom rose 7.8% in the first quarter of 2020 through April 4, compared to the first quarter of 2019, Consumer Watchdog and FrackTrackerAlliance reported today. Read More.

The struggle against California’s expansion of fracking continues as oil prices plunge

April 26, 2020 – Daily Kos

Dozens of oil tankers with 20 million barrels of crude oil are at this time floating off the California Coast from Long Beach to San Francisco with nowhere to go. The oil aboard these tankers could satisfy 20 percent of world’s production, according to
Read More.

Don’t Bail Out Oil and Gas — Use the Money for Environmental Cleanup Instead

April 26, 2020 – TRUTHOUT

Despite the evidence that the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. is not profitable and basically a giant money pit, President Trump tweeted last Tuesday that he has directed his cabinet to come up with a bailout plan for the floundering industry. The announcement came on the heels of a historic plunge in crude oil that sent prices deep into the red. Read More.

Project remains priority for PTTDLM partnership

April 26, 2020 – The Times Leader

DILLES BOTTOM — The developers of a proposed petrochemical complex in Belmont County say they remain committed to the project in response to reports that the COVID-19 outbreak may interfere with construction of the plant. Read More.

Lower Youghiogheny River named the 10th most endangered river in the U.S.

April 22, 2020 – Pittsburgh City Paper

The Pittsburgh region has come a long way from its industrial past when pollution was the norm, but it still has a long way to go. The region still has some of the worst air quality in the nation, and extractive industries like natural gas are contributing to methane links and environmental degradation. Read More.

As Oil Prices Plunge, Fracking and Oil Drilling Expands in California!

April 20, 2020 – Daily Kos

Despite the collapse in U.S. oil prices, the Gavin Newsom Administration continues to expand oil and gas drilling, including fracking, in California.
Read More.

‘Gigantic impact’: Chesapeake Energy’s complex legacy

April 14, 2020 – NonDoc

In 2007, Forbes named Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy the “best managed” oil and gas company in the country. It was a designation based not only on the firm’s financial success but also on the “management ability, innovation and leadership” of its executives, including co-founder and CEO Aubrey McClendon. Read More.

Coalition slams Newsom administration for approving 24 new fracking permits

April 11, 2020 – Indy Bay

The issuing of new fracking permits took place less than two months after Consumer Watchdog and the FracTracker Alliance reported that the total number of oil and gas well permits issued in 2019 under the Newsom Administration rivals the number issued during the last year in office of former Governor Jerry Brown. Read More.

Coalition criticizes CA for approving 24 new fracking permits after a nearly six-month moratorium

April 8, 2020 – Daily Kos

Environmental justice advocates, conservationists and public health advocates were very disappointed by the approval of environmentally destructive fracking operations as coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths increase daily, although less than in other states due to Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order and other emergency measures. Read More.

California regulators approve new fracking permits during COVID-19 epidemic

April 4, 2020 – Daily Kos

In the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic and after a nine-month moratorium on new fracking operations,  the State Department of Conservation on Friday approved 24 new fracking permits in Kern County, the center of the oil industry in California. Read More.

Market Headwinds Buffet Appalachia’s Future as a Center for Petrochemicals

March 21, 2020 – Inside Climate News

Less than two years ago, the Trump administration and the chemical industry were promoting development of a plastics manufacturing center in Appalachia they thought would benefit Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky. Read More.

RuPaul gets called out for alleged fracking on his Wyoming ranch

March 18, 2020 – Fast Company

On a recent episode of NPR’s talk show Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed TV host and drag queen RuPaul Charles.

It was a standard chit-chat covering RuPaul’s rise from humble beginnings to becoming the world’s foremost drag queen and host of the Emmy-winning hit TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race. However, in the last five minutes of the interview, Gross brought up RuPaul and his partner Georges LeBar’s 60,000-acre ranch in Wyoming. Read More.

Look beyond fracking for better solutions

February 28, 2020 – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Shannon Smith weighs in on the danger of perpetuating the  “jobs verse environment” narrative in the 2020 presidential election. Read More.

Newsom’s ‘State of the State’ ignores threats from oil drilling

February 23, 2020 – Desert Sun

Kyle Ferrar discusses why Governor Gavin Newsom’s failure to mention oil drilling in his second State of the State address is part of a broader problem. Read More.

February 23, 2020 – The New York Times

BIG IVY, N.C. — I live in Appalachia, and on Sunday mornings I hike the Appalachian Trail across the mountains I call home. It is my church. I drink from its springs and rest in the shade of its ancient forests. Read More

Ohio anti-protest bill could criminalize support for pipeline demonstrations

February 12, 2020 – Energy News Network

Activists say a bill advancing in the Ohio legislature could criminalize activities such as offering rides, water or medical aid to anti-pipeline protesters.

Even chanting “stop the pipeline” could be construed as encouraging damage to critical infrastructure under the bill’s vague language, critics say. Read More

After School Lockouts and Flunked Inspections, Colorado Eyes Suncor Crackdown

January 21, 2020 – Westword

When Lucy Molina and her family moved from one side of Commerce City to the other five years ago, there was one thing that she and her kids immediately loved about their new home: the small park nearby, practically in their back yard, with a playground and plenty of green space to run around in. Read More

America’s Radioactive Secret

January 21, 2020 – Rolling Stone

Oil-and-gas wells produce nearly a trillion gallons of toxic waste a year. An investigation shows how it could be making workers sick and contaminating communities across America. Read More

Recent Press Releases

Below are select, recent press releases by FracTracker Alliance and/or our partners.

Prizio, Fitzgerald announce critical oil & gas lease data to be made publicly available

December 4, 2019 – FracTracker Alliance, Pittsburgh, PA

Allegheny County Council Member Anita Prizio announced today that the county government’s Real Estate Division will provide public access to digital data regarding parcels subject to oil and gas leases in the county. Read the full press release.

FracTracker to host 5th Annual Community Sentinel Award for Environmental Stewardship event opposite major US shale energy conference in Pittsburgh

October 2, 2019 – FracTracker Alliance, Beaver, PA

 On October 22nd, 2019, FracTracker Alliance will host an award ceremony and reception in Beaver, Pennsylvania that honors environmental stewards working in the United States. Four individuals will be presented with the Community Sentinel Award for Environmental Stewardship along with a cash prize. Read the full press release.

New Interactive Online Map Tracks 380 Million Barrels of Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Waste: Report Finds Increase in Transportation and Disposal of Dangerous, Radioactive Waste

September 11, 2019 – Earthworks, Pittsburgh, PA

new report by Earthworks, with mapping support by FracTracker Alliance, documents a massive 1,500 percent increase in the volume of toxic, often radioactive waste generated by Pennsylvania oil and gas operations between 2003 and 2018. Earthworks calculates that in 2018 alone, the fracking boom generated 69 million barrels of liquid waste and 1.4 million tons of solid waste, a 20 percent increase in liquid and 35 percent increase in solid waste from 2017. Read the full press release.

FracTracker Releases Six New Maps Detailing the Petrochemical Build-out in the Ohio River Valley

July 11, 2019 – FracTracker Alliance, Pittsburgh, PA

FracTracker Alliance released six new maps using over 16,000 data points. The maps reveal the vast network of natural gas and petrochemical infrastructure currently in the Ohio River Valley, as well as proposed facilities and storage sites that connect to petrochemical processing. FracTracker’s accompanying analysis, found here, provides in-depth context to this nascent buildout that threatens to turn the Ohio River Valley region into a massive petrochemical hub. Read the full press release

Watchdogs Call For Resignations & Permit Freeze As California Oil Regulators Approve Surge In Well Permits While Personally Invested In Oil Companies

July 11, 2019 – FracTracker Alliance and Counterpunch

Los Angeles—A review of state conflict of interest forms shows that eight regulators managing the state’s oil and gas well approval and inspection process have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the oil companies they regulate. One of the regulators is among the top three in command at the State’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). Read the full press release

Sweeping New Report on Global Environmental Impact of Plastics Reveals Severe Damage to Climate

Study Recommends Solutions, Including Phasing Out Single-Use Plastics

May 15, 2019, FracTracker Alliance, CIEL, Environmental Integrity Project, GAIA, 5Gyres

Washington, DC — In 2019 alone, the production and incineration of plastic will add more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere—equal to the pollution from 189 new coal-fired power plants, according to a new report, Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet. The rapid global growth of the plastic industry—fueled by cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing—is not only destroying the environment and endangering human health but also undermining efforts to reduce carbon pollution and prevent climate catastrophe. Read the full press release

Delaware Riverkeeper Network Releases New Hydraulic Fracturing Reports

Experts Examine Impacts of Fracking on Health and Economics in Pennsylvania

May 13, 2019, Delaware Riverkeeper Network

Bristol, PA – Two new reports are being issued today by Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) examining the impacts of unconventional gas drilling (employing hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”) in Pennsylvania. The commissioned reports are entitled “Categorical Review of Health Reports on Unconventional Oil and Gas Development; Impacts in Pennsylvania”, authored by Fractracker Alliance (linked here: and “The Economic Costs of Fracking in Pennsylvania”, authored by ECONorthwest (linked here: Read the full press release