Notable upcoming events and other announcements

Preserving Archaeological Sites with GAPP

The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has estimated there to be over 195,000 cultural, historic, and archaeological sites in just nine of the most active shale formations located in the U.S. to date (see SAA report). The FracTracker Alliance has also mapped data from the National Registry of Historic Places (see below), which includes approximately 70,000 listed properties—fewer than the number of archaeological sites in the State of New Mexico alone. There is, therefore, much to be gained by all stakeholders in generating a model that will help companies manage risk effectively and protect these sites with consistent, thoughtful approaches.

Digitized items on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), and shale plays and basins, where unconventional drilling operations most often occur. Please note that not all of the items on the NRHP have been digitized. To access legend, layer descriptions, and other map controls, please click the expanding arrows icon in the top-right corner of the map.

Last year, a group of representatives from the energy industry and the historic preservation community founded the Gas and Preservation Partnership (GAPP), a collaboration between the energy industry and the historic preservation community to advance energy exploration while protecting historic and cultural sites. These innovators believe strongly that collaboration – rather than contention – is key to managing these resources while also encouraging efficient exploration and development of energy reserves. GAPP’s primary goal is to work together to develop model voluntary practices that will balance business and preservation interests.

GAPP is holding its first summit on March 21, 2014, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to kick off its unique effort to the larger community: “Bridging the GAPP: Honoring our History – Fueling our Future.” GAPP’s board members, who represent multiple aspects of the shale gas and cultural resources fields, welcome participation from all those interested in finding roads to solutions. Learn more

For other opportunities to get involved or general questions, check out GAPP’s website or Facebook page or send an email to GAPP’s counsel, Marion Werkheiser, at Cultural Heritage Partners.

Researchers “drilling for data” present findings at Shale Gas Symposium

By Lisa Mikolajek Barton, Center for Environmental Research & Education, Duquesne University

Duquesne University Facing the Challenges conference attendees 2013

Facing the Challenges 2013

Two dozen researchers in a variety of disciplines presented their findings at “Facing the Challenges,” a symposium on unconventional shale gas extraction that drew more than 300 attendees to Duquesne University on Nov. 25 and 26, 2013.

The Power Center Ballroom was filled with speakers from several regional institutions as well as Cornell, Duke and Yale Universities; representatives from industry, government and non-profit agencies; and private citizens.  The event was free and open to the public.

The conference was chaired by Dr. John F. Stolz, director of the Center for Environmental Research and Education and professor of biology, and coordinated by Samantha Malone, manager of science and communications for FracTracker Alliance.  They convened the conference at the request of the Heinz Endowments, which sponsored the event along with the Colcom, Claneil and George Gund Foundations.

“It is really important that this research is funded by foundations,” Stolz remarked, “because we are able to get data unencumbered by confidentiality or conflict of interest.”

Dean Reeder giving the introductory remarks for the Duquesne University Facing the Challenges conference 2013

Dean Reeder giving the introductory remarks

Most of the data presented over the two-day event suggest that the impacts of unconventional shale gas drilling extend far beyond the well pad.  In addition to the more obvious environmental concerns such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity, waste disposal and negative health effects, there are also complex economic and social implications.

Researchers in the social sciences pointed to evidence that an economic boom and impending bust are the likely result of this rapidly expanding industry, leading to increased crime and other social problems.  While non-residential owners of large acreage and the drilling companies may reap the economic rewards, residential owners of small parcels, renters and local businesses related to tourism and agriculture tend to be the “losers” in an uneven exchange of risks and benefits.

The experiences of local people and the effects on local land were on visual display throughout the conference with photographs from the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project, and independent filmmaker Kirsi Jansa presented excerpts from Gas Rush Stories.

Duquesne University Facing the Challenges conference attendees 2013

Over 300 in attendance

Overall, a recurring issue raised by many of the researchers was that the rapid rate of expansion in unconventional shale gas drilling has outstripped our ability to manage the growth responsibly.  The pace of research and regulation lags far behind the race to produce profits for shareholders.  Although we are just beginning to observe the effects of the recent “gas rush” in Pennsylvania, lower natural gas prices are already driving drillers to other states, where more lucrative oil can be found.

Nevertheless, the researchers who presented at Duquesne University will continue to fill the gaps in our knowledge to inform leaders, lawmakers and the general public.  As Stolz noted, “A major goal of the Center for Environmental Research and Education is to understand the complexities of environmental issues and to bring those insights to the community at large.”

The manuscripts and reviews generated by many of the conference speakers will be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and a video recording of the event will soon be available.  For updates, visit the conference website:

Reprinted from Duquesne University’s Spectrum newsletter.

Offshore oil and gas development in CA - Photo by Linda Krop Environmental Defense Center

Hydraulic Fracturing Offshore Wells on the California Coast

By Kyle Ferrar, CA Program Coordinator, FracTracker Alliance

Dirty Water by EDCOn October 16th, the Environmental Defense Center released a report focused on the use of hydraulic fracturing by offshore oil drilling platforms off the coast of California.1 The full report can be found on the EDC’s website. I was asked to assist in creating the report’s GIS maps, the results of which are described partially in the article below and are shown on the right.  An interactive map of this data, overlaid with additional data layers including oil spills and offshore wells is below.

Regulation of Offshore Drilling

California has 24 offshore oil rigs, with only one of them located, and therefore regulated, in state waters. In the map below, the regulated platform is labeled as “Holly.” The rest of the platforms, including platform “A” which was responsible for the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969, are located in federal waters beyond the “outer continental shelf” (OCS) boundary, shown in the map with a dashed line.

Santa Barbara Channel_10.7.13

International, federal, and state laws are interrelated legal regimes that impact development of offshore oil, gas and other mineral resources in the US. Governance is bifurcated between state and federal law. States have authority in the “three-geographical-mile” area extending from their coasts. Federal regulatory regime governs minerals located under federal waters that extend out past state boundaries at least 200nautical miles from shore.  This is known as the “exclusive economic zone,” for which coastal nations have the sovereign right to explore, exploit, conserve, and manage marine resources. The basis for most federal regulations is the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), which provides the system for offshore oil and gas exploration, leasing, and ultimate development. Regulations range from health, safety, resource conservation and environmental standards to requirements for production-based royalties and in some cases royalty relief and other development incentives. The moratoria on offshore leasing on many areas of the outer continental shelf were lifted in 2008 by President Bush and the 110th congress. Prior to that, several areas were made available for leasing in 2006 including the Aleutians and the Gulf. Recent changes to authorities regulating offshore development resulted after the Mineral Management Service was implicated in numerous scandals, including uncollected royalties estimated to amount to $160 million in 2006 alone.2 Offshore resource extraction is now regulated by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, both agencies of the Department of the Interior.

Investigating Hydraulic Fracturing

Point Conception Offshore Rigs_10.7.13

A recent freedom of information act request filed by the Environmental Defense Center (the group was formed in response to the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill) identified 15 offshore drilling operations that used hydraulic fracturing. (Update: recent information from the FOIA shows 203 frac’ing operations from 6 different rig platforms!)4.  This number is most likely a vast underestimation, as the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) estimates 12% of offshore operations in the Gulf use hydraulic fracturing. These “frac” operations were conducted without notifying the necessary regulatory agencies. The majority of this activity was conducted from the platforms Gilda and Gail, both labeled in the maps. While these offshore energy resources may be oil-rich, the fossil fuel resources pale in comparison to the biodiversity and ecological productivity of the Santa Barbara Channel and the California Channel Islands. The geography of the Channel Islands was formed by the cold-water swells of Northern California meeting with the warm-water swells of Southern California. This convergence resulted in a plethora of ecological microcosms in addition to the critical and sensitive habitats of endangered and threatened species shown in the maps.

Recently, the Department of the Interior approved four more hydraulic fracturing operations at these offshore platforms. Take note of the many ecological preserves and areas of protected/sensitive habitat in the midst of the many offshore wells and platforms. The map layer showing historic oil spills deserves special attention, with focus on the spills at platforms Gail and Gilda. Seeing this, it is alarming that the proposals were not required to conduct environmental impact assessments, and were instead granted “categorical exemptions” from the environmental analyses and public transparency actions strictly required by the National Environmental Policy Act. These actions (or lack thereof) in such an ecologically complex environment, especially considering it is the historical site of the US’s third largest oil spill, raises serious questions of compliance with other federal laws including the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and Coastal Zone Management Act.3

Policy Recommendations

Additionally, the EDC report makes several policy recommendations:

  • Place a moratorium on offshore hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and other forms of well stimulation unless and until such technologies are proven safe through a public and transparent comprehensive scientific review
  • Prohibit the use of categorical exclusions to authorize offshore fracking and other forms of well stimulation
  • Formally evaluate offshore fracking and other forms of well stimulation through a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
  • Initiate consistency reviews with the California Coastal Commission for all exploration plans, development plans, drilling or modification proposals involving fracking
  • Ensure that all fracking proposals comply with the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act
  • Review and revise the Clean Water Act permit governing offshore oil platforms to directly address chemicals in frac flowback and other wastewater, either establishing effluent limitations for those chemicals or denying discharge altogether


  1. Environmental Defense Center. 2013. Dirty Water: Fracking offshore California. Retrieved 10/16/13.
  2. Daniel Whitten. September 16, 2010. Oil, Gas Royalty-In-Kind Program to End, Salazar Says. Bloomberg. Retrieved 10/15/2013.
  3. Environmental Defense Center. October 16, 2013. EDC Provides Fracking Details. Retrieved 10/16/13.
  4. ALICIA CHANG and JASON DEAREN. October 19, 2013. California Offshore Fracking More Widespread than Anyone Believed. Huffington Post. Retrieved 10/22/13.

FracTracker Presenting at Duquesne Shale Gas Conference

Facing the Challenges: Research on Shale Gas Extraction Symposium

Research on Shale Gas Extraction Symposium

On November 25 and 26, 2013 the FracTracker Alliance will be taking part in a regional shale gas symposium at Duquesne University designed to share the recent research that has been conducted regarding the impacts of unconventional natural gas extraction. FracTracker’s Manager of Science and Communications, Samantha Malone, will present on the data gaps and needs that exist in this industry, especially those that hinder regulatory and corporate transparency. Full agenda >

Event Details

Facing the Challenges: Research on Shale Gas Extraction Symposium
November 25-26, 2013 — Duquesne University Power Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Agenda | Register online | Promotional poster (PDF) | Campus map
Free and open to the public!

Join us for a two-day symposium that will explore the challenges of unconventional shale gas extraction. Hear from more than two dozen academic researchers as they present their findings regarding:

  • Biological, geological and environmental investigations
  • Fugitive methane migration and climate change
  • Air and water quality
  • Human and animal health
  • Social, political and legal aspects

Sponsored by the Heinz Endowments, the Claneil Foundation, the Colcom Foundation and The George Gund Foundation. Presented by Duquesne University’s Center for Environmental Research and Education.

More information can be found on the conference website at:

Related Event

If you are planning on attending Facing the Challenges, you might also be interested in the following event being hosted by the League of Women Voters on November 23rd:

Shale Drilling and Public Health: A Day of Discovery
Presented by The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania’s Shale and Public Health Committee
November 23, 2013  |  9 am – 5 pm
Heinz History Center, Fifth Floor Mueller Education Center, Pittsburgh, PA
This event is also free and open to the public.
More information

Science, Democracy, and Community Decisions on Fracking forum

By Kyle Ferrar, CA Program Coordinator, FracTracker Alliance

The “Science, Democracy, and Community Decisions on Fracking” forum hosted by The Union of Concerned Scientists focused on the full spectrum of the broad range of issues accompanying unconventional resource extraction and hydraulic fracturing.  The meeting included a full day of roundtable discussions focused on three topics, with participants handpicked and assigned to one of three groups.  Roundtable discussions with invited participants convened July 24th, with a public forum held the following day.  Participants included leading thinkers and experts from academia, industry, nonprofit organizations, and government.  The working groups focused on one of three topics:

  1. The current state of science and technical knowledge
  2. Public policy and the regulatory framework for managing development
  3. Public Access to data and resources.

The FracTracker Alliance participated in the public access discussions.  The chair(s) of each of the three committees presented their findings during the public forum on July 25th, followed by “dynamic public discussion.”

The public forum began with opening remarks from Kathleen Rest, Executive Director of UCS, and Edward A. Parson, Professor of law and Co-Director of the Emmet Center on Climate Change and the Environment at the UCLA Law School, and a warm greeting from U.S. Congressman Henry A Waxman, via telecast as Congress is currently in session. Opening remarks by Adrienne Alvord (UCS) introduced the three committees and their respective charges. A short video, filmed and produced by UCS, presenting the need for public awareness on the issue of hydraulic fracturing and unconventional resource development was then exhibited.  The video can be found on the UCS website.

The committee discussing the current state of science and knowledge gaps was chaired by Kevin Hurst, former Assistant Director of energy R&D for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  In his presentation Kevin acknowledged the various risks of media contamination, including groundwater, soil, surface water, and air, that have occurred during both conventional and unconventional oil and gas extraction, but felt that his committee had reached an overall consensus within his group that when best practices are employed responsibly, these risks can be managed effectively.  Specifically, the risks to groundwater and green-house gas emissions are relatively similar to the risks associated with conventional resource development (vertically drilled oil and natural gas wells that are not “frac’ed”).  The risk management issues result from the scale of development.  Proper management will necessarily require comprehensive monitoring plans, including all media as well as wildlife and public health, necessarily from industry but also from the public sector and citizens.  Monitoring will need to be consistent, transparent, and widespread.  For each particular failure that has been realized, there will need to be a collaboration between industry and regulatory bodies (state and federal) to drive down risk.  For data collection on a comprehensive scale there will also need to be collaboration between public and private institutions for a coalition that supports public engagement.

Kate Konschnik, Policy Director of the Environmental Law and Policy program at the Harvard Law School and former chief environmental counsel to U.S. senator Sheldon Whitehouse, presented on behalf of the policy working group.  Kate began by addressing what is working and what is not working in terms of the goals of the many interest groups focused on hydraulic fracturing issues.  Among other interests they include moratoriums and a complete ban.  In the case of local rural interests groundwater protection has been a main focus, whereas in urban communities it is typically a concern for air quality.  On a global scale green-house gas emissions are the focus.  On all levels these are progressive issues due to the difference of scale as compared to previous oil and gas activity in most parts of the United States.  To manage this scale of development there are both regulatory and non-regulatory tools.  Regulatory tools include roles for the federal, state, tribal, and local governments such as the role the EPA has in supporting green completions of well-heads, although they could be required as addressed in the clean air act.  Non-regulatory bodies possess other tools such as shareholder interests and actions and third party certifications such as LEED certifications.  In regards to regulatory action, there seems to be a lack of will to apply existing rules on the books, whereas there is also the capacity for new rules that need to be created in such a way that authority is shared without duplicating efforts and with clear response plans.  Having government regulatory agencies lead the charge in data collection is important to inspire innovation to reduce risks, develop performance standards from the ground level and will address the trust issue for accountability and continued improvement of technologies.  Information that needs to be collected includes baseline data and ongoing monitoring in a consistent format across multiple states, as well as chemical disclosures.

The third working group, focused on issues of public access to information, was chaired by Tom Wilbur, author of Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale and Shale Gas Review blog.  Tom’s presentation centered on the question, “What can be done to help citizens seek, find, and digest information, while recognizing misinformation, so as to inform decision-making?”  Answers should improve access to information that will in turn inform decision-making.  The main findings were framed in terms of the best outcome for most people, such that public health and environmental health issues trump issues of trade secrets and non-disclosures.  The first finding was that the sources of information need to be trusted, and community generated information is the most trusted.  This includes the involvement of regulatory agencies, such as closing the loopholes in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (hazardous wastes) and the Clean Water Act.  Disclosure of all chemicals is therefore also necessary.  The full process of data dissemination must also be considered, from translation of data to information, to synthesis of results and conclusions, and then explanations of the implications.  Validation of all information by trusted sources is critical.

Additional presenters who had not participated in the roundtable discussions provided insight into the various themes, to tie the discussions together.  Amy Jaffy Myers, Executive Director for energy and sustainability at the University of California-Davis, discussed global energy security economic, and geopolitics of frac’ing.  Amy explained why the issue of energy independence is so important to the future of the United States.  Everyone wants the freedom of mobility to drive cars on liquid fuel and warmth to heat their homes.  In turn, the public’s demand for responsible policies should be responded with a commitment from the private sector.    Felicia Marcus, Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board provided the context for why the issue is so important in the State of California, and summarized the current set of draft rules and regulations that are currently being considered by the state legislature.  They include provisions for monitoring, transparency, and bonding.  Jose Bravo, executive director of the Just Transition Alliance, gave a moving talk about the environmental justice issues that have accompanied oil and natural gas development in California communities.  Todd Platts, former U.S. Representative, gave a lecture on the need for information for community-empowerment as well as the need for transparency in a functioning democracy, and Andrew Rosenberg, Director of the Center for Science and Democracy and The Union of Concerned Scientist provided closing remarks, which summed up the entire conference with the words “Informed decisions need to be made on the merits.”

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!

FracMapper Nationwide

Upcoming Trainings for Mapping Shale Gas Drilling via

Last updated: October 1, 2013

FracMapper Nationwide

Get trained to work with our new mapping platform: FracMapper

Mountain Watershed Association (MWA) and the FracTracker Alliance are offering free, hands-on training sessions for citizens who would like to utilize the new mapping capacities available through, a web-based tool for tracking and visualizing data related to shale gas extraction operations.

Unconventional natural gas extraction has increased in this region over the last few years. The associated environmental and public health concerns have created a desire to track where drilling is occurring near vulnerable populations and areas. These trainings will show people how to find where drilling operations are located and learn more about them. The tool is already being used by citizen water monitoring volunteers and community advocates with the MWA’s Marcellus Citizen Stewardship Project.

WHO: Training by Mountain Watershed Association (MWA) and the FracTracker Alliance

WHAT: Free, hands-on training sessions for citizens to track and visualize data related to shale gas extraction operations through

WHEN: 6:00pm – 8:00pm

WHERE: Locations for each date are listed below. Please bring your own laptop unless the event is marked with an asterisk (*). This symbol indicates that the training space is in a computer lab, so won’t need to bring your own computer.

Training Dates and Locations

Date Location
February 26, 2103 DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh, Washington, PA
March 26, 2013* Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA
June 3, 2103 Murrysville Community Library, Murrysville, PA
June 18, 2103* Fayette County Career and Technical Institute, 175 Georges Fairchance Rd., Uniontown, PA 15401
June 26, 2013* St. Vincent College, The Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion, West Building, Room WG02, 300 Fraser Purchase Rd, Latrobe, PA, 15650
July 30, 2103* Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Oakland), PC Center, 4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
October 7, 2103 Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Keith 232, Indiana, PA


For more information and to register for an upcoming training, please contact Kathryn Hilton:, 724-455-4200 Ext 4.

If you can’t attend in person, or just need a refresher, here is an introduction to using FracMapper (PDF).

These training sessions are made possible through the support of the Heinz Endowments.

# # #

Controversy in the Loyalsock

Controversy in the Loyalsock

By Mark Szybist, Staff Attorney, PennFuture

What are the Clarence Moore Lands?

The Clarence Moore lands are 25,621 acres of “split estate” lands in the Loyalsock State Forest where the surface rights are owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the oil and gas rights are owned by two private parties – an affiliate of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (Anadarko) and a private company called International Development Corporation (IDC). The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) calls this acreage the “Clarence Moore lands,” after an individual who once owned the area’s oil and gas interests.

What is the controversy over the Clarence Moore lands?

The Clarence Moore lands have become controversial because Anadarko wants to drill gas wells on them (and build compressor stations, water impoundments, pipelines, and new roads). Because of the ecological and recreational sensitivity of the Clarence Moore lands, PA’s conservation community (and much of the general public) wants the DCNR to use its substantial powers to minimize surface activities, if not prevent them altogether.

In general, when a “split estate” exists in PA, the party that owns or controls the oil and gas estate has an implied right to use the surface that it does not own in order to extract oil and gas. The Clarence Moore lands present an exception to this rule. Due to a provision in the Commonwealth’s deed, the DCNR has the power to deny Anadarko access to 18,870 acres of the Clarence Moore lands – almost 75%. To obtain access, Anadarko needs a right-of-way from the DCNR. Conservationists are arguing that given this power, the DCNR has leverage to protect all of the Clarence Moore lands – including the 6,841 acres where Anadarko appears to have traditional “split estate” surface rights.

In March 2012 Anadarko submitted to the DCNR a development plan for the Clarence Moore lands. For almost a year, a coalition of conservation, recreation, fishing and hunting organizations (and thousands of private citizens) have been pressing the DCNR to conduct a public input process on the Clarence Moore lands before making any agreement with Anadarko. The coalition wants the DCNR to make public its environmental impact analyses, allow public comment on all development and non-development alternatives, and protect the Clarence Moore lands for future generations of Pennsylvania citizens. In April 2013 the DCNR conducted an invitation-only meeting about the Clarence Moore lands for “local stakeholders,” followed by a webinar in collaboration with the Penn State Extension of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. The DCNR announced on May 22, 2013 that it would hold a public meeting in Williamsport on June 3rd.

Why are the Clarence Moore lands so important?

The Clarence Moore lands are a wealth of ecological and recreational resources. They include the Old Loggers Path (OLP), an acclaimed 27-mile hiking trail that follows former logging trails and opens onto stunning vistas. According to DCNR documents, the OLP “will be taking the brunt of development [from Anadarko’s activities].”

The Clarence Moore lands include most of the watershed of Rock Run, an Exceptional Value (EV) stream widely hailed as the most beautiful stream in Pennsylvania. The headwaters of Rock Run and Pleasant Stream, another EV stream, emerge from ridge-top wetlands that provide habitat for several threatened or endangered plant and animal species.

The Clarence Moore lands provide habitat for numerous plant and animal species that Pennsylvania has classified as threatened, rare, or at risk (or determined to be candidates for these classifications). Among these species (to name just a few): the timber rattlesnake, northern water shrew, creeping snowberry, northern bulrush, northern goshawk, and yellow-bellied flycatcher. The Clarence Moore lands have been designated an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society. (See p. 82 of this PDF).

Finally, the Clarence Moore lands are one of only a few large public land areas in north-central PA that have not been opened to gas development, and still contain relatively unfragmented forests.  The DCNR has already leased almost 21,000 other acres of Loyalsock (the forest is around 114,000 acres in all), and has also leased much of the Tiadaghton State Forest to the west and the Tioga State Forest to the north.

FracTracker map of Clarence Moore Lands and Activity

The map above shows the Clarence Moore lands as yellow and blue areas within the Loyalsock State Forest. In the yellow areas, the DCNR has exclusive control of the surface. In the blue areas, Anadarko has the right to use the surface to extract oil and gas. The locations of the yellow and blue Clarence Moore areas are based on documents obtained by PennFuture through the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law (RTKL) and on maps that the DCNR presented at the April 2013 webinar noted above.

The map also shows the oil and gas wells, pipelines, roads, compressor stations, and impoundments that conservationists believe Anadarko has proposed to build in the Clarence Moore lands. The locations of this infrastructure are based on the RTKL documents and on hikers’ observations of survey flags within the Loyalsock State Forest.

Questions and comments about this issue or the June 3rd public meeting can be directed to Mark Szybist:

Job Announcement: FracTracker California Program Coordinator

The FracTracker Alliance is looking for a well-­qualified candidate to serve as California Program Coordinator on a full-­time basis. This newly created position will be based in the greater San Francisco area. Deadline to apply: May 31, 2013.


CAThe position will coordinate, manage, and support outreach and analytical activities in California for the FracTracker Alliance. The FracTracker Alliance is a non-­profit organization dedicated to enhancing the public’s understanding of the impacts of the oil and gas industry through data collection, mapping, and analysis and by sharing these and other resources on our website, We partner with citizens, organizations and institutions – allied in a quest for objective, helpful information – to perpetuate awareness and support actions that protect public health, the environment, and socioeconomic well-­being.


  • Regularly develop and post maps and stories addressing a variety of issues relating to unconventional oil and gas development (e.g. air, water, wildlife, agriculture, wells, permits, violations, waste, land use changes, accidents, traffic, earthquakes, vulnerable populations, activity by company, and much more).
  • Execute multiple trainings for grassroots organizations, citizen activists, elected officials, students, and others on the issues associated with oil and gas exploration, the resources available on FracTracker, and utilization of our mapping utility
  • Represent and promote FracTracker’s services at conferences, public events and symposia in California relating to oil and gas drilling and related risks
  • Respond to specialized requests for subject area and community-­based maps that support specific projects
  • Promote FracTracker as a go-­to hub for oil and gas-­related mapping and information resources for online, print, and other news communication media and build an extensive California media resources list
  • Vigorously contribute state-related social media posts to FracTracker’s growing Facebook and Twitter presence
  • Network with hiking, public health, air quality, forestry, fish and wildlife, water monitoring and other types of organizations to lay groundwork for quantitative and crowd-­sourced data and photo collection
  • Assist with grant writing, grants management, and communications with funding partners
  • Maintain an organized, efficient, and properly-­equipped office environment

Preferred Skills

Public speaking, writing, data management, citizen science and/or data collection, networking (e.g. Familiarity with California organizations and agencies), GIS/map making, office management, interpersonal, teamwork, grant writing, grants management, knowledge of environmental, public health, economic, agricultural, or other issues of relevance to unconventional oil and gas development

Minimum Education / Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in natural or physical sciences, environmental studies, public health, economics, agriculture, or other relevant field. Advanced degree preferred. Five years of work experience exercising the skills listed above.


  • Starting salary range: $57,500-­$62,500 per year based on experience
  • Generous healthcare benefits (medical, dental, vision)
  • Matching 401k program
  • Three weeks of vacation leave

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send (electronic submission preferred) a cover letter and resume by May 31, 2013 to: Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance, P.O. Box 1576 Camp Hill, PA 17001.

Questions? Please call (717)-­303-­0403 or email us.

US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts - V1

Introducing the US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts

About the Map

The FracTracker Alliance has been working with nine different community partners on a project to map instances where oil and gas activity are suspect of impacting groundwater supplies in the United States. The US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts is now ready for its initial release, and consists of the following data layers:

  • Visitor Submitted Impacts. This layer consists of viewer submitted form data describing suspected incidents of groundwater contamination by oil and gas extraction and related industries.  The locations have been determined using the centroids or geometric center-points of the zip code in which the suspected incident occurred.  If you are aware of additional incidents, please submit them here.
  • Pipeline Incidents Contaminating Groundwater. This data layer includes hazardous liquid pipeline incidents that were indicated as resulting in groundwater contamination between 1/1/2010 and 3/29/2013.  The data were obtained by the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  The data have been altered by the FracTracker Alliance in that it only includes incidents leading to groundwater contamination, and by the removal of several dozen columns of data about the incident for the sake of brevity.  There are 30 incidents on this list.
  • NRDC Suspected Contamination Events. Amy Mall of the Natural Resources Defense Council compiled a list of 37 incidents where hydraulic fracturing is suspected of contributing to groundwater contamination.   The list was compiled in December 2011, and each entry is linked to news reports of the event.   This layer was mapped by the FracTracker Alliance based on the centroids or geographic center-points of the municipality, county, or state of the incident, depending on the best information available.
  • List of the Harmed Suspected Water Incidents. Jenny Lisak, co-director of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, maintains a list of people claiming to be harmed by hydraulic fracturing or related processes, called the List of the Harmed (LotH).  This data layer is based on the February 23, 2013 update of the list, and contains only the events in which water is the suspected exposure pathway.  This data was mapped by the FracTracker Alliance based on the centroids or geographic center-points of the municipality, county, or state of the incident, depending on the best information available.
  • NM Pit Contamination Events. This layer consists of events where the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division determined that substances from oil and gas pits contaminated groundwater.  Altogether, there are 369 incidents included in the data.  The document on which this map was based was published in 2008.  This data was mapped by the FracTracker Alliance based on the centroids or geographic center-points of the PLSS section, meaning that the points should be accurate within 0.72 miles.

US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts – Version 1

It is important to note that the standard for inclusion in the map is simply whether or not someone suspects that well water has been impacted by oil and gas extraction-related activity.  Specifically, items on the Visitor Submitted Impacts, NRDC Suspected Contamination Events, and List of the Harmed Suspected Water Incidents should be thought of as perceived  impacts by oil and gas activity, not confirmed ones.  The NRDC and LotH lists were built with links to one or more media reports about the event.

On the other hand, the New Mexico document on which the pit contamination event layer was built simply says, “Cases Where Pit Substances Contaminated New Mexico’s Ground Water,” and it is worth noting that it was published by a state regulatory agency. Likewise, the PHMSA pipeline data is published by an administration within the US Department of Transportation.  Between these two layers, there are 399 incidents with the authority of a regulatory agency behind them.

Future versions of this map can be found on the project’s landing page.