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Recent In The News

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

“Someone Decided It Was Okay to Poison Us”

April 11, 2021 – Mother Jones

Nalleli Cobo was nine years old when her nose started bleeding, off and on throughout the day, and often into her pillow at night. Then came the headaches and heart palpitations; for a while, her doctor had her wear a heart monitor. “I got to the point where I couldn’t walk,” Cobo, who is now 20, says. “My mom had to carry me from place to place.” Read More.

LNG From Pennsylvania to New Jersey: 400 Tanker Trucks a Day

April 10, 2021 – Delaware Currents

A plan to bring liquified natural gas from Wyalusing, Pa., to a port in Gibbstown, N.J., has focused largely on the potential hazards of transporting as much as 3 million gallons of the highly flammable product at a time by rail. But the project sponsor also has plans to send as many as 400 tanker trucks per day, each carrying 10,000 gallons of LNG, crisscrossing Pennsylvania and New Jersey roadways, passing through or near small cities and communities with congested roads. That’s significant given that project proponents, federal government and risk evaluators of the LNG-by-rail project have repeatedly said that the likelihood of a failure of an MC-338 cryogenic highway tanker is greater than that of a specialized rail tanker. Read More.

California AG believes proposal to drill for gas in Suisun Marsh is not ‘in the public interest’

April 4, 2021 – Daily Kos

In California, so-called “protected areas” on both land and water are often NOT protected from oil and gas drilling. The classic case of this is the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative that failed to protect the ocean from oil and gas drilling, fracking, military testing, corporate and government pollution and other human impacts on the ocean besides fishing and gathering. As I’ve discussed in article after article, what passes for “protection” in California is often overseen by the very same industries that have caused environmental destruction in the first place. In one of the biggest West Coast environmental scandals of the past 20 years, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) served as the CHAIR of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create “marine protected areas” in Southern California at the same time that she was lobbying for increased offshore drilling. Read More.

The Oil Well Next Door: California’s Silent Health Hazard

March 31, 2021 – Yale Environment 360

Nalleli Cobo was nine years old when her nose started bleeding, off and on throughout the day, and often into her pillow at night. Then came the headaches and heart palpitations; for a while, her doctor had her wear a heart monitor. “I got to the point where I couldn’t walk,” Cobo, who is now 20, says. “My mom had to carry me from place to place.” Doctors were stumped as to what was wrong. “I’d always been a healthy little girl,” Cobo recalled. “And then all of a sudden I’m meeting cardiologists and neurologists and all these other -ologists, and no one could figure out what I had.” Only after being sick for four years, in 2013, did she get a possible answer. Physicians for Social Responsibility, a public-health nonprofit, sent a toxicologist to Cobo’s South Los Angeles community to talk about how certain chemical byproducts of oil extraction, among them benzene and hydrogen sulfide, can cause symptoms similar to what Cobo was experiencing. Read More.

‘Cancer-causing’ chemicals found in children living near fracking well sites following two-year investigation

March 31, 2021 – Independent

Politicians and environmental activists are demanding action on fracking after a two-year investigation revealed alarming levels of toxic chemicals linked to the drilling method in children. A series of in-depth reports, published by non-profit Environmental Health News (ENH) this month, looked at the health impacts on five, non-smoking families living within miles of fracking sites in southwest Pennsylvania. The US has become world leader in fossil fuel production due to fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. The technique recovers gas and oil pockets from shale rock by drilling horizontally and then injecting gallons of water, sand and chemicals underground at high-pressure. Read More.

Shell’s Falcon pipeline under investigation by state, federal agencies

March 24, 2021 – Farm and Dairy

Shell’s Falcon pipeline is under investigation by state and federal regulators after a whistleblower reported issues with the construction of the line. According to documents acquired by the environmental group FracTracker Alliance through a public records request, a whistleblower contacted the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHSMA, in 2019 with allegations that the pipeline may have been built with a defective corrosion coating. Other environmental concerns brought up by the whistleblower, a former Shell employee, were referred to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Read More.

Culver City Council votes 4-1 for resolution urging CA to close down SoCalGas Playa del Rey facility

March 22, 2021 – Elk Grove News

The Culver City Council on March 8 voted 4 to 1 on a resolution calling on the Gavin Newsom Administration to develop a timeline and plan for closing down the neighboring SoCalGas natural gas storage facility in Playa del Rey at the Ballona Wetlands. Council Members Alex Fisch, Daniel Lee, Yasmin-Iman McMorrin, and Albert Vera voted for the resolution, while Grant Eriksson voted against it. The vote took place two days before Governor Newsom’s state of the state address at the State Capitol. It also occurred the night before the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted 5 to 0 to go in the opposite direction from Culver City, approving an ordinance to fast-track over 40,000 new oil and gas wells. Read More.

Advocacy group says Shell’s Falcon Pipeline under investigation for safety issues

March 17, 2021 – Beaver County Times

Shell’s controversial multistate pipeline is under investigation by several state and federal agencies for issues that an environmental advocacy group said poses serious threats to public safety, workers and natural resources. FracTracker Alliance, a nonprofit that focuses on the oil-and-gas industry, obtained documents that indicate an investigation into safety matters with the Shell Falcon Pipeline involving the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the state Attorney General, the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to a release, the investigation focuses on potential “noncompliance with construction and public safety requirements and alleged cover-up of incidents that could put the public at risk.” A Shell Pipeline spokesman said that government and regulatory agencies have provided oversight throughout the construction process. Read More.

DEP pointed feds to whistleblower complaints about Shell pipeline

March 17, 2021 – StateImpact PA

Federal and state regulators are investigating a whistleblower’s tip that Shell used defective corrosion coatings on its Falcon pipeline, which will feed the company’s Beaver County ethane cracker. The tip ping-ponged its way through state and federal agencies, according to a February 2020 letter from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell to a top federal pipeline safety official. The letter states the DEP was also aware of alleged falsification of records and retaliatory firings in connection with the complaint. Read More.

Falcon Pipeline, which provides natural gas to Shell cracker plant, under investigation for possible corrosion

March 17, 2021 – Pittsburgh City Paper

Last year, a natural gas pipeline being constructed through Southwestern Pennsylvania garnered the attention of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, who then notified federal agencies in charge of regulating pipelines and other environmental concerns. In a February 2020 letter to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Pa. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell wrote that issues “pose a possible threat of product release, landslide, or even explosion.” Read More.

Federal, state agencies probe Shell’s Falcon pipeline after whistleblowers’ allegations

March 17, 2021 – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Early last year, Penn­syl­va­nia’s top en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cial tried to raise an alarm at the high­est level of the fed­eral agency re­spon­si­ble for pipe­line safety. “I write to you re­gard­ing a very se­ri­ous pub­lic safety mat­ter for Penn­syl­va­nia,” the let­ter from Patrick McDon­nell, sec­re­tary of Penn­syl­va­nia’s Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, be­gan. The DEP, he said, had cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion that some sec­tions of Shell Pipe­line’s Fal­con proj­ect “may have been con­structed with de­fec­tive cor­ro­sion coat­ing pro­tec­tion.” He also men­tioned wit­nesses with “first-hand knowl­edge of bad cor­ro­sion coat­ings, fal­si­fi­ca­tion of records and re­ports, re­tal­ia­tory fir­ings and other ac­tions by Shell.” Read More.

The Storage and Transportation of LNG: What Could Go Wrong?

March 11, 2021 – Delaware Currents

Lonnie E. Click, a fire chief in Benton County in southern Washington, was at his desk when he first heard the call: an explosion at a liquified natural gas storage facility. The call was outside his jurisdiction but, based on what he was hearing on the radio, he decided to head to the scene. From atop a hill, Click could see smoke coming from the plant 20 miles away. Federal investigators would later describe a “rolling detonation” at the facility on March 31, 2014, that set off a large fire and explosion that injured five workers and could be felt up to six miles away. The explosion was so forceful that pieces of metal greater than 2,000 pounds were propelled more than a quarter of a mile, Click recalled at a 2016 conference. Read More.

Fractured: Readers respond on fracking reporting

March 9, 2021 – Daily Climate

In “Fractured” we followed the stories of five families living in or near fracking country in southwestern Pennsylvania. All are coping to various degrees with unexplained illnesses, anxiety, depression, social strain. Tests of their urine found biomarkers that suggested high levels of exposure to toxic compounds commonly used in fracking operations – ethylbenzene, styrene, toluene. We found chemicals like benzene and butylcyclohexane in drinking water and air samples. These five families are not alone. We asked readers and organizations to share their stories. Here’s how they reacted. Read More.

Contending with unseen hazards

March 9, 2021 – Australian Mining

More than 39,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission pipelines are sprawled across Australia, three times the distance between the country and the North Pole. Energy infrastructure company APA Group owns and controls nearly 40 per cent of Australia’s pipelines and services many remote mine sites. As the country’s largest transporter of natural gas, the company supplies and delivers around half of the nation’s annual gas usage through high pressure pipelines. From outback locations to urban environments, the pipelines are built and operated to the highest standards to transport the gas safely and withstand human activities around them. But they are by no means immune to high-impact activities and rupture incidents. Read More.

17 key environmental bills on the 2021 agenda in California’s Legislature

March 4, 2021 – Desert Sun

California’s legislative session came to a wild ending in 2020 when the clock ran out on major bills. Key pieces of environmental legislation were among those that died on the floor, and conservationists are hoping 2021 brings a different story. At the time, Mary Creasman, CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters, said, “We only have until 2030 to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis and prepare for what’s happening, and right now there’s no clear vision or agenda from leadership in Sacramento on how to tackle this challenge.” Read More.

The Shift to Renewable Energy Can Give More Power to the People

March 4, 2021 – The New Yorker

The pandemic has driven a lot of people outdoors: reports show that park visits are up around the world and parking lots at hiking trails are packed. That’s understandable—by now you’d need to chop down a sizable forest to print out the studies showing that time in nature reduces stress, cuts healing times, and enhances the functioning of the immune system. As Sadie Dingfelder wrote in the Washington Post in December, “I’ve always found it relaxing and rejuvenating to be outdoors, but the anxiety and isolation of the pandemic, the uncertainty of civil unrest and, oh, I don’t know, the potential crumbling of American democracy have made me crave nature like a drug.” Read More.

Pennsylvania Families Exposed to Unusually High Levels of Oil and Gas Industry Chemicals, Report Finds

March 3, 2021 – DeSmog Blog

A groundbreaking four-part report by Environmental Health News (EHN) offers new scientific evidence that living near oil and gas development can expose people to a wide array of hazardous and carcinogenic chemicals — not just those living near shale drilling and fracking, but also those living near older conventional oil and gas wells. Read More.

Fractured: Buffered from fracking but still battling pollution

March 1, 2021 – The Daily Climate

On a balmy evening in September of 2019, eight women gathered around a conference table in a small office about 25 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Sunlight streamed through large windows, casting a warm glow over a side table set with coffee, biodegradable cutlery, and three kinds of pie. “Eat pie, ladies,” commanded a tall, middle-aged woman with silver-streaked hair. As a mother of four and the outreach coordinator for the nonprofit organization hosting this event, Ann LeCuyer was comfortable telling people what to do. She’d spent the last four years helping the group, Protect PT* (short for Protect Penn-Trafford), work to keep fracking out of the small municipalities of Penn Township, Trafford, and surrounding neighborhoods. Read More.

Disposal of Fracking Wastewater from PA, WV & OH Raises Issues

February 27, 2021 – FrackCheck WV

Judy Burger of Belmont County, Ohio stands next to her home, where across the road two frack waste injection wells are being constructed. She fears noise and pollution from constant truck traffic. Each well drilled using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas production creates tens of millions of gallons of wastewater, called produced water or brine. In Ohio, much of that wastewater is disposed of in underground injection wells, including waste from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As the number of injection wells grows in Ohio, local communities want some control over where these wells are located. Read More.

Gavin Newsom Has a Big Oil and Gas Problem

February 26, 2021 – Future Human

On the outskirts of Bakersfield, California, it doesn’t take much effort to stumble upon an oil or gas well. “You don’t have to drive far, especially once you get out into those rural areas,” Julie Solis, who lives in the city, tells Future Human. “The rural communities are really where they’re getting hit the hardest.” Two of Solis’ four children attend school at Bakersfield College, which is on the edge of town. Right across the street is the massive Kern River Oil Field, where there are active oil and gas wells less than a mile away. Kern County, like many places in liberal, climate action-friendly California, is a hotbed for oil and gas drilling, with over 35,000 active oil and gas wells, according to 2019 data from FracTracker Alliance, a watchdog nonprofit that monitors the activities of the oil and gas industry. Read More.

Pa. sends a lot of fracking waste to Ohio. People there want more say in where injection wells go

February 22, 2021 – StateImpact PA

Each well drilled using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas production creates tens of millions of gallons of wastewater, called produced water or brine. In Ohio, much of that wastewater is disposed of in underground injection wells, including waste from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As the number of injection wells grows in Ohio, local communities want some control over where these wells are located. Read More.

CA Senators Wiener and Limón introduce bill, SB 467, to ban fracking and require 2500 foot setbacks

February 17, 2021 – Daily Kos

Senators Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) today introduced legislation, Senate Bill 467, to ban fracking and other destructive oil extraction methods and to require setbacks between oil extraction and homes and schools in California. You can expect the Western States Petroleum Association, Chevron, Aera Energy and California Resources Corporation to spend big money lobbying to oppose this legislation, like they have done with every bill introduced into the Legislature to ban fracking and to require a 2500 foot health and safety setback between oil and gas wells and homes and schools. Read More.

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Bill To Ban All Dangerous Forms Of Oil Extraction Including Hydraulic Fracturing

February 17, 2021 – PR Newswire

Consumer Watchdog today welcomed newly introduced state legislation—SB 467—to ban fracking and a host of other more commonly employed and dangerous techniques used to coax stubborn-and-hard to reach oil and gas out of the ground. “This bill is the quickest and soundest way to ensure a transition away from oil and gas production in California while the Newsom Administration endlessly studies how to accomplish the task,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker. “It employs common sense in a step-by-step approach that also considers the needs of oil workers in the context of protecting public health and the environment.” Read More.

Big Oil Spent $10 million Lobbying California Officials in 2020

February 17, 2021 – CounterPunch

The powerful oil industry lobby in California in 2020 spent less on lobbying in California than it did in 2019, but still managed to defeat legislation it opposed and getting CalGEM, the state’s gas and oil regulatory agency, to double the number of new oil production well permits approved in the state. The top four oil industry lobbyist employers — the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), Chevron, Aera Energy and California Resources Corporation — spent $10,192,047 lobbying the Governor’s Office, Legislature and regulatory agencies to advance Big Oil’s agenda in 2020, according to data posted on the California Secretary of State’s website by February 1. Read More.

SoCal marine protected areas, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta threatened by oil and gas wells

February 16, 2021 – Daily Kos

A recent report by Kyle Ferrar of the Fractracker Alliance confirms my extensive reporting on how the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative in Southern California, chaired by Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) President, did little or nothing to protect the marine environment from oil and gas drilling. The report also reveals the threat to the ecosystem presented by oil and gas production wells on state land on Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. This is particularly alarming considering that Newsom Administration is currently fast-tracking construction plans for the Delta Tunnel, potentially the most environmentally destructive public works in California history. Read More.

Lawmakers opposing order to pause new oil leasing received $13 million from fossil fuel interests

February 13, 2021 – Daily Kos

While some analysts have claimed the bankruptcy of several oil companies and the collapse of oil prices last year during the pandemic signaled the “end” of the fossil fuel industry, you wouldn’t know that from the millions of dollars the Big Oil and Big Gas have poured into the campaign coffers of federal lawmakers to oppose any effort to transition to clean energy. Fossil fuel executives and oil and gas industry political action committees have poured millions into the campaigns of lawmakers now criticizing the Biden administration’s efforts to move the country away from fossil fuels and build a clean energy future, according to a new Public Citizen report. Read More.

Frac Sand Mining is Disturbing Thousands of Acres in the US

February 13, 2021 – Frack Check WV

The perils of fracking are well documented, but the impacts from mining frac sand are less widely known. In this OpenHour, we speak with the people fighting for clean air and water, fertile farmland, & sustainable livelihoods in fenceline communities from across the midwest. Fracking is an extractive technology that has spread across massive landscapes and unzoned, small towns in the USA as industry has purchased up land rights to conduct operations. Mining for silica sand, use of chemicals, and local water all are pumped into the ground to release small pockets of oil & gas. We will hear directly from community members who have been bringing their communities together to unite in the struggles for healthy homes and justice amidst broken promises from frac sand companies. Read More.

The Kern County Planning Commission Votes In Favor Of Gas and Oil Ordinance Despite Public Outcry

February 12, 2021 – Valley Public Radio

After hearing more than 100 public comments, the Kern County Planning Commission voted Friday to pass the recommendation for a proposed oil and gas ordinance that would allow the permitting of up to 40,000 new oil and gas wells over the next 20 years. Representatives from the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the League of United Latin American Citizens spoke in favor of the ordinance citing jobs for Latinx community members as a top reason. But the majority of the comments voiced concern over the new ordinance. Read More.

Kern Co. Planning Commission to vote on proposed ordinance to allow 67,000 new oil wells!

February 11, 2021 – Indy Bay

The Kern County Planning Commission tonight will vote on a proposed ordinance to allow 67,000 new oil and gas wells to be drilled in Kern County over the next 20 years. This will nearly double the number of wells already there. After a pandemic year in which the Gavin Newsom administration doubled the number of new oil production wells in California, the Kern County Planning Commission tonight will vote on a proposed ordinance to allow permitting of more than 67,000 new oil and gas wells over the next 20 years with no additional environmental review. Read More.

Appalachian Fracking Boom Was a Jobs Bust, Finds New Report

February 11, 2021 – DeSmog Blog

The decade-long fracking boom in Appalachia has not led to significant job growth, and despite the region’s extraordinary levels of natural gas production, the industry’s promise of prosperity has “turned into almost nothing,” according to a new report. The fracking boom has received broad support from politicians across the aisle in Appalachia due to dreams of enormous job creation, but a report released on February 10 from Pennsylvania-based economic and sustainability think tank, the Ohio River Valley Institute (ORVI), sheds new light on the reality of this hype. Read More.

Appalachia’s fracking boom has done little for local economies: Study

February 11, 2021 – Daily Climate

Appalachia’s fracking boom has failed to deliver on promises of jobs and benefits to local economies, according to a new study. The study, published today by the Ohio River Valley Institute, a nonprofit think tank, revealed that while economic output in Appalachian fracking counties grew by 60 percent from 2008-2019, the counties’ share of the nation’s personal income, jobs, and population levels all declined. The analysis concluded that about 90 percent of the wealth created from shale gas extraction leaves local communities. Read More.

Big Oil spent $10 million lobbying CA officials as new oil production well permits doubled in 2020

February 5, 2021 – Daily Kos

The powerful oil industry lobby in California in 2020 spent less on lobbying in California than it did in 2019, but still managed to defeat legislation it opposed and getting CalGEM, the state’s gas and oil regulatory agency, to double the number of new oil production well permits approved in the state. The top four oil industry lobbyist employers — the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), Chevron, Aera Energy and California Resources Corporation — spent $10,192,047 lobbying the Governor’s Office, Legislature and regulatory agencies to advance Big Oil’s agenda in 2020, according to data posted on the California Secretary of State’s website by February 1. Read More.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, Despite Pledge, Signed 1,709 Oil and Gas Production Permits

February 1, 2021 – Newsweek

Out of all the Joe Biden administration’s suite of executive orderson climate signed on Wednesday, advocates in California have latched on to one in particular: a promise to halt new oil and gas lease sales on public lands and offshore and to review existing leases. Some of them hope that the move could inspire similar action by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration, which has so far approved more than 8,000 oil and gas permits on state lands. Read More.

Environmentalists Demand Gavin Newsom Join Biden’s Halt of Oil and Gas Drilling

January 29, 2021 – Capital & Main

Out of all the Biden administration’s suite of executive orders on climate signed on Wednesday, advocates in California have latched on to one in particular: a promise to halt new oil and gas lease sales on public lands and offshore and to review existing leases. Some of them hope that the move could inspire similar action by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration, which has so far approved more than 8,000 oil and gas permits on state lands. The president’s order, which directs the secretary of the interior to pause on entering into leases, will itself not have a huge effect on oil and gas production in California; production on federal lands accounts for less than 10% of all drilling in the state. Read More.

Frack check: Debunking natural gas pipeline claims made in a recent Energy Transfer commercial

January 27, 2021 – Pittsburgh City Paper

On Jan. 24, oil-and-gas giant Energy Transfer shelled out some serious money to re-run one of their commercials during the NFL conference championship games. The commercial implies that oil and natural gas lines are necessary to keep tanker trucks off of roads and tanker train cars off of railways, “just to meet our energy needs.” The commercial posits underground pipelines as bucolic havens, and railroads and highways as dangerous. Highways are dangerous, and pipelines do have far fewer incidents compared to America’s roads. But any notion that pipelines are solely peaceful and perfectly safe comes tumbling down when confronted with reality. Read More.

Earthworks report reveals California fails to safely manage radioactive and toxic oil and gas waste

January 27, 2021 – Daily Kos

Between 2008 and 2018 alone, oil and gas companies created a statewide total of over 1.3 trillion gallons of oil and gas wastewater in California, enough liquid to fill over 17.6 million household bathtubs. That’s one of the many findings of a new report released by Earthworks, along with allies VISION California and Center for Biological Diversity. The report reveals that California, often portrayed by the state’s politicians and national media as the nation’s “green” leader, is actually one of the worst states in the U.S. when it comes to regulating the oil and gas industry’s waste. Read More.

Protect PT offers advice on environmental hazards

January 24, 2021 – Mon Valley Independent

As residents and elected officials in Rostraver Township continue to battle environmental issues related to the Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill, Protect PT, a nonprofit environmental  group serving Westmoreland and Allegheny counties, has been hosting a series of Zoom workshops to teach residents how to better protect themselves against environmental hazards, particularly those related to the oil and gas well industry. The community impacts may be at the well sites, along the routes traveled by trucks handling waste from the sites or at disposal sites. “Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill and others have been taking oil and gas waste for the past 10 years,” said Protect PT executive director Gillian Graber. Read More.

Plum residents, environmental groups ask Governor Wolf to stop fracking waste injection well

January 21, 2021 – Public Source

Last week, Plum Borough residents, representatives from Protect PT and Breathe Project and national fracking experts held a press conference via Zoom to oppose the opening of a fracking waste injection well on Old Leechburg Road in Plum. The plan is to convert a former oil and gas well into a 1,900-foot-deep wastewater disposal well. “The residents of the Allegheny River Valley urgently ask Governor Tom Wolf to exercise his executive power to revoke the permit for the Penneco Sedat #3A class 2 waste disposal well in Plum Borough,” reads the statement from the group. “The well site puts several downstream Allegheny River public drinking water systems at risk, including the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority.” Read More.

Big Wigs, Big Gowns, Big Money: How Does RuPaul Spend All That Money?

January 21, 2021 – Edge Media Network

RuPaul’s entertainment and real estate empire has come into the spotlight once again in a new feature in the South China Morning Post. RuPaul’s celebrity caché has significantly increased since the 2009 debut of the hit series “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which has since grown into a global franchise, recently expanding its reach to Australia and New Zealand. Conversely, the show has also contended with criticism around the show’s historical lack of trans-inclusion. (This season welcomes its first transgender male contestant, Gottmik.) Whether fans have stayed or sashayed away, the drag entrepreneur’s hovers around $60 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Read More.

When a Gas Plant Moves Next Door

January 21, 2021 – Ideastream

Kevin and Marlene Young built their house in the country, so they had space for horses. “I was raised around horses, and that’s my love,” Marlene said. With names like Buckeye Blast and Creekside Pete, their horses aren’t just pets. They built a half mile track to train them as racehorses. “If you see my track, the polls out there are placed 1/8 mile apart, and that’s how you clock a horse to tell how fast you’re going,” Kevin said. Their horses have won tens of thousands of dollars in prize money. Read More.

Breaking: California Doubles New Oil And Gas Production Well Permits, Misses Drilling Setback Rule

January 19, 2021 – Daily Kos

California oil regulators more than doubled the dispensing of permits in 2020 to drill new oil and gas production wells, issuing more than 1,700 in 2020, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance reported in a press release today. “At the same time, the Newsom Administration failed to meet its own New Year’s Eve deadline for a draft rule designating the safe distance for drilling from a community, giving itself until Spring.  Public interest groups who have pushed for a 2,500-foot setback are troubled by the delay. States such as Colorado have instituted setbacks of 2,000 feet,” the two groups stated. Read More.

Newsom Administration Doubles New Oil And Gas Production Well Permits, Misses Deadline for Drilling Setback Rule, Says Consumer Watchdog

January 19, 2021 – PR Newswire

California oil regulators more than doubled the dispensing of permits in 2020 to drill new oil and gas production wells, issuing more than 1,700 in 2020, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance reported today. At the same time, the Newsom Administration failed to meet its own New Year’s Eve deadline for a draft rule designating the safe distance for drilling from a community, giving itself until Spring.  Public interest groups who have pushed for a 2,500-foot setback are troubled by the delay. States such as Colorado have instituted setbacks of 2,000 feet. Read More.

Gibbstown LNG Project: Many Hurdles Remain

January 15, 2021 – Delaware Currents

A planned project to transport liquid natural gas from a plant in Pennsylvania to a port in New Jersey still has to finish a Rubik’s Cube-like puzzle of regulatory, logistical and legal hurdles before becoming a reality. Pieces of the complex plan have so far gained approvals from at least 19 different local, state and federal government bodies but the project has drawn intense opposition from critics over safety, environmental and other concerns, including the risk of running so-called “bomb trains” carrying LNG through heavily populated communities. Read More.

Governor asked to intervene on Plum wastewater injection well

January 14, 2021 – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Community and environmental organizations have asked Gov. Tom Wolf to revoke a state issued permit for a shale gas fracking waste disposal well in Plum, saying the well could endanger public drinking water supplies in Pittsburgh and nearby communities. Protect PT, the Breathe Collaborative, and Citizens for Plum say in the letter to the governor that allowing the Penneco Sedat #3A class 2 waste injection well to operate will significantly increase the risk of toxic chemical and radioactive contamination of surface and groundwater, cause mine subsidence and increase chances of earthquakes. Read More.

Environmental groups call on Gov. Tom Wolf to stop Plum oil and gas disposal well

January 14, 2021 – Trib Live

Environmental groups have called on Gov. Tom Wolf to revoke a state-issued permit that allows an oil and gas company to dispose of fracking fluids at a site in Plum. “We again want to ask the governor of Pennsylvania to uphold our constitutional rights to clean air and pure water and revoke the permit for the Plum waste injection well,” said Gillian Graber, executive director of ProtectPT, an environmental group based in Harrison City. Read More.

Coalition: CA Governor’s 2021 Budget Doesn’t Address Fossil-Fueled Public Health and Climate Crises

January 12, 2021 – Elk Grove News

At the end of a tumultuous week dominated by the Trump-instigated attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom on January 8 submitted his 2021-22 State Budget proposal to the State Legislature. The $227.2 billion fiscal blueprint offers funding for immediate COVID-19 response and relief efforts while “making investments for an equitable, inclusive and broad-based economic recovery,” according to the Governor’s Office. Read More.

Opposition Continues to LNG Transport thru Philadelphia and on the Delaware River & Bay

January 10, 2021 – Frack Check WV

After the Delaware Riverkeeper Network again appealed the controversial construction of a second dock for liquified natural gas (LNG) export in Gibbstown, New Jersey, its construction was re-approved in a Delaware River Basin Commission meeting on December 9th. The project’s opposers continue to raise concerns over the highly risky transportation of LNG and the impacts from LNG production at the New Fortress Energy processing plant in Wyalusing Township, Bradford County, PA. Read More.

Gavin Newsom’s New Year’s Gift: 14 new fracking permits, delayed public health regulations

January 9, 2021 – IndyBay

California Gavin Newsom has come under fire from environmentalists and the public over the fracking and other oil drilling permits that CalGEM issued in 2020 for Aera Energy and other oil companies. How did CalGEM, the state agency overseeing oil and gas regulations, celebrate New Year’s Eve? They issued 14 more fracking permits to Aera Energy and delayed to spring 2021 the release of public health regulations for oil and gas wells. Read More.

Exporting the U.S. Shale Boom Has Changed Oil Markets Forever

January 7, 2021 – Bloomberg

Five years ago on New Year’s Eve, the Theo T left the Texas Gulf Coast with the first U.S. shale crude shipment overseas. The oil, gathered from nearby ConocoPhillips wells and sold to trading giant Vitol Group, set sail for Italy just two weeks after lawmakers lifted a long-standing ban on exports. It was the start of a trade that would reshape global oil markets, shift geopolitical power and upend entire economies. The shale boom itself has turned the U.S. into the world’s largest oil producer and has moved it ever closer to a long-cherished dream of ending dependence on Middle East oil. But the export boom created an entirely new market, sending crude pulled from the shale fields of Texas, New Mexico and North Dakota to more than 50 countries, with shipments often surpassing those of any OPEC nation aside from Saudi Arabia. Read More.

Treat fossil fuels like nukes. Endorse a new nonproliferation treaty

January 3, 2021 – Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles City Council is poised to endorse a call for a global Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. Approval could make Los Angeles the first U.S. city — New York is also in the running — to sign on to the treaty resolution. Introduced in November by Councilman Paul Koretz, it won unanimous support in committee and awaits likely passage by the full council in the new year. The treaty would do just what its name says: Signatory governments would agree to stop further expansion of the fossil fuel industry within their boundaries. A U.N. report released Dec. 2 indicates just how imperative that step is: To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the goal set in the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, global emissions would have to drop 6% a year between now and 2030; alarmingly, nations instead project an average annual increase of 2% a year. Read More.

Recent Press Releases

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

Straight Talk on the Future of Fracking Jobs in Pennsylvania

September 28, 2020 – FracTracker Alliance and The Breathe Project

The Breathe Project and FracTracker Alliance released a fact sheet today refuting the conflated numbers being touted by pro-fossil fuel organizations and political candidates regarding fracking jobs in Pennsylvania. In some cases, the natural gas jobs in the state have been inflated by 3500 percent. Read the full press release, and get the fact sheet.

Two Advocacy Groups Challenge California Oil Regulator To Correct The Record On True Oil Drilling Permit Numbers

September 22, 2020 – Consumer Watchdog

Consumer Watchdog and the FracTracker Alliance challenged the state’s Oil and Gas Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk “to be honest with the public about the data” on oil drilling in the state. They stated his refusal to acknowledge data published by the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) “sullies CalGEM and reflects poorly on an Administration that claims desperately to want to stem the cruel tide of climate change.” Read the full press release and the full letter to Ntuk.

Falcon Pipeline Construction Releases over 250,000 Gallons of Drilling Fluid in Pennsylvania and Ohio

June 17th, 2020 – FracTracker Alliance, Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services – Pittsburgh, PA

An investigation by FracTracker Alliance and Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services reveals that construction of Shell Pipeline Company LP’s Falcon Ethane Pipeline System has caused over a quarter million gallons of drilling fluid to be spilled in at least 70 separate incidents in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The total amount could be much larger. Read the full press release.

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: https://bit.ly/30kqe4u) and “The Economic Costs of Fracking in Pennsylvania”, authored by ECONorthwest (linked here: https://bit.ly/2JCO7yz). Read the full press release