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Recent In The News
Below are select, recent articles in the press covering FracTracker Alliance and/or our work.
Newsom Administration approves 6 more fracking permits, bringing the total to 54 this year
October 17, 2020 – IndyBay
“Gov. Newsom sacrifices our health, food, water and climate while dodging criticism when he issues new fracking permits on a Friday night,” said Alexandra Nagy, California Director of Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Action. “Newsom’s concern over climate change is a deceptive mirage as his actions reveal a strong adherence to the status quo. The Gavin Newsom Administration on the afternoon of October 16 issued a memo to environmental groups revealing that CalGEM, the oil and gas regulators in California, will be approving six fracking (well stimulation treatment) applications for Aera Energy in Belridge, California. Read More.
Alliance launches ad campaign to pressure Governor Newsom to phase out oil drilling in California
October 8, 2020 – Daily Kos
During a year of an unprecedented epidemic, record fires and record heat, the California agency in charge of regulating oil and gas drilling, CalGEM, has approved over 1540 new oil and gas drilling permits so far. Faced with this expansion of fossil fuel drilling in California, Last Chance Alliance, a coalition of over 750 climate, environmental justice, and public health groups, has launched an ad campaign calling on Governor Gavin Newson to phase out oil drilling as part of his plan to address the climate crisis, according to a press release from the alliance. Read More.
As oil drilling expands, Newsom pledges to ‘conserve’ 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030
October 8, 2020 – Daily Kos
Food & Water Action California State Director Alexandra Nagy criticized Newsom for failing to deliver on climate change while his administration has issued over 2,600 oil and gas drilling permits this year so far. “Governor Newsom needs to go back to the drawing board and tackle the state’s biggest polluters head-on,” said Nagy. “We’re losing patience with his lack of meaningful action.” Read More.
There’s No Oil in Wisconsin. The Fracking Bust Hit It Anyway.
October 8, 2020 – The Wall Street Journal
For years, Mary Drangstveit could feel the shale boom reverberating in her kitchen. This spring, oil prices crashed and the rattling ceased. It brought relief for her and distress for some others in her community. Digging stopped at the sand mine next door in Blair, Wis., which had rumbled since 2015 to supply drillers with silica they blasted into shale to let out oil and gas. The coronavirus pandemic and a switch by drillers to cheaper sand accomplished what locals like Mrs. Drangstveit, 77, couldn’t in their efforts to fight the mine at town meetings and court. The mine’s owner, Hi-Crush Inc., filed for bankruptcy in July. Rival Covia Holdings Corp., an Ohio company with Wisconsin mines, did so in June. Other mines have closed or cut hours. “This has been the most peaceful summer of the last six years,” Mrs. Drangstveit said.. Read More.
The House Just Passed Another “Save Our Seas” Act. Here’s Why it Won’t.
October 7, 2020 – The Intercept
The Save Our Seas 2.0 Act purports to offer a bipartisan solution to the unthinkable amount of plastic — 11 million metric tons, a figure predicted to nearly triple by 2040 — that enters the ocean every year. It seems Congress would agree. On Thursday, the federal bill was expedited to the floor of the House of Representatives and passed on suspension, a procedure typically reserved for noncontroversial bills. In the less than 15 minutes of debate to precede the vote, no dissenting views were raised. Read More.
Climate Advocates Criticize Newsom’s Executive Order for Not Addressing Oil Drilling
October 1, 2020 – Indy Bay
California Governor Gavin Newsom on September 23 signed an executive order (EO) requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035, along with additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector. In response, representatives of the Last Chance Alliance, a coalition of hundreds of environmental, climate justice, social justice and public interest groups, said the executive order fails to address in-state oil drilling, “ignoring supply-side policy to address the climate crisis.” Read More.
New Sierra Club Report Says CRC’s Failure Could Leave California Taxpayers with $900 Million Burden
October 1, 2020 – Daily Kos
The Sierra Club released a new report today (October 1) revealing that the financial failure of California Resources Corporation (CRC), a spin-off of Occidental Petroleum, could leave California taxpayers bearing more than $900 million in costs for the remediation of thousands of CRC’s abandoned wells. CRC is California’s largest oil and natural gas producer with the state’s most “diverse operations,” according to the CRC website. Read More.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and Big Oil: It’s Complicated
September 29, 2020 – Visalia Times Delta
It was early November 2018, and the boosters of Kern County were nervous. Gavin Newsom had been elected governor of California a few days before, and he had promised all campaign long to get tough on California’s oil industry. At the county’s annual Energy Summit, Lorelei Oviatt, director of the county’s planning and natural resources department, let it be known in a freewheeling speech that California’s oil industry was not going down without a fight. Read More.
“Brownsville is not a sacrifice zone,” Activists Cry At Protest Against North Brooklyn Pipeline
September 28, 2020 – Bklyner.
Latrice Walker, assemblywoman for New York State’s District 55, still distinctly remembers what it was like growing up with childhood asthma in Brownsville. “There were days when I would be on a machine at Kings County Hospital clinging to my chest, because I couldn’t breathe,” she told a crowd of around 100 protestors gathered at Zion Triangle on September 26 to oppose the fifth phase of construction of the Metropolitan Reliability Infrastructure (MRI) project, more commonly known as the North Brooklyn pipeline. Read More.
Wiener says he’ll move to ban fracking in California, following Newsom’s lead
September 24, 2020 – The San Francisco Chronicle
A trio of California lawmakers plans to introduce a bill to ban the controversial fossil fuel drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in an effort to expand the state’s fight against climate change. State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said he’s working with two other legislators on the matter after Gov. Gavin Newsom embraced a plan this week to phase out new fracking. The details are not yet sorted out, but Wiener told The Chronicle he would like to introduce the bill as soon as lawmakers reconvene in December. Read More.
Newsom orders 2035 phaseout of gas-powered vehicles, calls for fracking ban
September 23, 2020 – Los Angeles Times
Emphasizing that California must stay at the forefront of the fight against climate change, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday issued an executive order to require all new cars sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and threw his support behind a ban on the controversial use of hydraulic fracturing by oil companies. Read More.
Climate Justice Advocates Criticize Newsom’s Executive Order for Not Addressing Oil Drilling
September 23, 2020 – The Daily Kos
California Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order (EO) requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035, along with additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector. In response, representatives of the Last Chance Alliance, a coalition of hundreds of environmental, climate justice, social justice and public interest groups, said the executive order fails to address in-state oil drilling, “ignoring supply-side policy to address the climate crisis.” Read More.
As Climate-Driven Wildfires Ravage California, Gov. Newsom Pressured to Ban Fossil Fuel Fracking
September 23, 2020 – Between the Lines
Thus far in this early stage of the year’s fire season, five times more acres in California have burned compared to last year’s destructive fires. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, talking with the press amid smoldering ruins of a burned down home, declared, “This is a climate damn-emergency.” But activists and experts in California point out that Newsom’s administration has been fanning the flames of the climate crisis. Read More.
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 More.
Group Plans to Sue Governor Newsom Over Illegal California Oil Wells
September 21, 2020 – Daily Kos
As the Western States Petroleum Association and Chevron continue their capture of California regulators in a year of record heat, record fires and an unprecedented pandemic, the Center for Biological Diversity on September 21 notified California Governor Gavin Newsom of its intent to file a lawsuit to halt illegal permitting of oil and gas wells in California. Read More.
Power Up: California may be burning. But it’s also still drilling for oil
September 15, 2020 – The Washington Post
Much of the ire over the fires raging across the Pacific Northwest has thus far been directed at President Trump. But frustrations with California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom are also bubbling over his own climate policies. Trump went to California yesterday, where Newsom challenged him to accept climate science, which shows that human-made climate change has made the West more vulnerable to extreme blazes. Trump instead blamed the multiple wildfires on lack of good forest management. Read More.
Pre-COVID natural gas extraction hit record high in Pennsylvania
September 15, 2020 – Beaver County Times
Pennsylvania drillers extracted a record-high volume of natural gas last year, while the number of new wells drilled declined from the year prior. Unconventional natural gas drillers extracted 6.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2019 – more than 10% higher than 2018, according to a new oil and gas report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. More than 1,700 drilling permits were issued, primarily at unconventional wells. Read More.
California Well Abandonments Outpacing Drilling Permits
September 9, 2020 – Natural Gas Intelligence
California oil and natural gas permits for well abandonments to date this year are twice the number of new drilling permits being sought, according to regulators. The California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) said it has received the lowest number of well stimulation permit applications since late 2016 when state Senate Bill 4 took effect. Forty-eight permits had been approved, with six denied and 248 pending third-party review. Read More.
Conservation Groups Oppose Exxon’s Plan to Restart Offshore Rigs Idled by Refugio Oil Spill
September 6, 2020 – Elk Grove News
Exxon’s offshore rigs have remained idle since the Refugio Oil Spill, but the oil giant, responsible for the infamous Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska in 1989, had plans to restart its offshore drilling platforms in Santa Barbara County and truck that oil through California. Read More.
Ventura County approves nation’s first 2500 foot health and safety setback from oil wells
September 2, 2020 – Daily Kos
After years of community members organizing and going to hearing after hearing, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors in an on-line 14-hour final hearing last night voted 3 to 2 to tentatively approve the nation’s first 2500 foot health and safety setback from oil wells as part of their General Plan. Read More.
California Legislature’s end-of-session scramble leaves environment bills on cutting room floor
September 2, 2020 – Desert Sun
Monday at midnight marked the deadline for California lawmakers to pass bills out of the Legislature. But in a session replete with the COVID-19 pandemic, racial justice and wildfires, numerous bills were left to die on the cutting room floor. Among them was the majority of the environmental agenda in what some legislators, environmentalists and public health advocates labeled a disappointment. Read More.
Permits To Drill New Oil And Gas Wells Zoom Up 190% In The First Six Months Of 2020 Under Gov. Newsom In Worrisome Trend, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance Report
September 2, 2020 – PR Newswire
As COVID-19 cases shattered California daily records in the second quarter of 2020, oil regulators under Gov. Newsom also shattered records for dispensing new oil and gas productionwell drilling permits, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance said today. Read More.
Approvals for new oil and gas wells up in California
September 2, 2020 – The San Diego Union-Tribune
Despite pushing back against the Trump administration’s plan to expand oil extraction in California, the state has issued 190% more new oil and gas drilling permits in the first six months of 2020 than were approved under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first six months in office, two advocacy groups said Wednesday. Read More.
California Permits to Drill New Oil and Gas Wells Increase 190% in First Six Months of 2020
September 2, 2020 – Daily Kos
As the California Resources Corporation and other oil companies filed for bankruptcy and COVID-19 cases shattered California daily records in the second quarter of 2020, oil regulators under Governor Gavin Newsom approved over 1500 new oil and gas productionwell drilling permits, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance revealed in a report released on September 2. Read More.
Ventura County leads in effort to expand oil setbacks with vote looming Tuesday
August 29, 2020 – Ventura County Star
Ventura County supervisors are headed Tuesday toward adoption of some of the largest setbacks ever enacted to separate oil wells from neighboring homes and schools in California, including a buffer of 2,500 feet that officials believe would be the biggest in the nation. It’s a concept that Audrey Nicholson can embrace. She lives in what she calls “oil country,” near a string of petroleum facilities that stretches north of her home on the edge of Ventura. Read More.
Rumors of RuPaul’s fracking ranch may be surprising to some – but not his Wyoming neighbors
August 28, 2020 – The Guardian
It was not the way most people would have expected an interview with RuPaul, host of RuPaul’s Drag Race show, to pan out. During a conversation on NPR earlier this year, RuPaul sparked concerns that oil companies may be fracking on his 60,000-acre ranch in eastern Wyoming. A “modern ranch, 21st-century ranch is really land management”, he said, and one aspect of that is to “lease the mineral rights to oil companies and you sell water to oil companies”. Read More.
Pipeline protests: A decry of fossil fuels, not a voice for the environment
August 21, 2020 – Oil & Gas 360
Pipelines transporting crude oil, natural gas, and refined products have been a controversial topic for lawmakers, environmental groups, and energy producers throughout the last decade. Since pipelines are the cleanest and safest method of transporting hydrocarbons, the logic behind these protests remains lost on many individuals. But, what the general public must understand is that many protesters are not necessarily trying to shut down pipelines, they are trying to eliminate the use of fossil fuels and force an immediate shift to renewable energy. Read More.
The three CA Senate Democrats who voted against setbacks bill took $142,206 from Big Oil & Gas
August 19, 2020 – Daily Kos
Three California Senate Democrats who voted with Republicans against an amended version of AB 345, a bill that would require the establishment of an environmental justice program at the California Natural Resources Agency, received $142,206 in donations from oil and gas corporations. Read More.
Refinery Shutdown, County Staff Critique Jeopardize ExxonMobil Offshore Drilling Plan
August 13, 2020 – Daily Kos
May 19 of this year marked the fifth anniversary of the massive Plains All American Pipeline spill near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County that resulted in the idling of Exxon’s three offshore oil platforms that rise like sentinels from the coastal waters. Read More.
CA Senate Committee Votes 4 to 5 Against Bill to Create Health and Safety Zones Around Oil Wells
August 6, 2020 – Daily Kos
Sacramento – California, a state that politicians and the mainstream media constantly tout as “green” and “progressive,” still doesn’t have health and safety setbacks around oil and gas wells like Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Dakota and other oil and gas producing states do. The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water yesterday voted 4-5 against AB 345 (Muratsuchi), a bill that would help to create health and safety buffer zones for the nearly 1.8 million Californians who currently reside in highly polluted areas close to oil and gas wells across the state. Read More.
United Domestic Workers Co-Sponsors AB 345 on Day Before Senate Committee Hearing
August 5, 2020 – Daily Kos
The United Domestic Workers of America (UDW/AFSCME 3930) has just announced they’ve joined as co-sponsors of an amended version of Assembly Bill AB 345 (Muratsuchi), legislation originally designed to require 2500 foot health and safety setbacks from oil and gas wells in California. Read More.
Tired of Wells That Threaten Residents’ Health, a Small California Town Takes on the Oil Industry
August 3, 2020 – Inside Climate News
In September 2018, Estela Escoto sat down with a team of lawyers and community organizers and weighed her options … Escoto, president of an environmental justice group called the Committee for a Better Arvin, was frustrated, but not surprised. For years, she and the committee had been struggling to keep oil and gas development out of their neighborhoods. 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
A 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
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