Audio Library

Audio Stories from People Living Near Oil & Gas Development

FracTracker Alliance doesn’t just collect and share traditional oil and gas data – drilling is personal to many people. To understand the perspective of those most impacted, we collect audio stories from people living near oil and gas infrastructure, such as pipelines. Below is an assortment of these stories organized by the oil and gas project of concern. If you would like to contribute your story to this library, please fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.


voices from the front lines of frac sand mining

FracTracker and Public Lab, with support from Save the Hills Alliance, produced “Undermined,” an audio story featuring interviews with three residents impacted by the Hi-Crush Mine in Augusta, Wisconsin. Christine Yellowthunder, Tom Pearson, and Terence O’Donahue give first hand accounts of their struggles for clean air and water, healthy farmland, and sustainable livelihoods amidst broken promises from frac sand companies.

Listen here:

Keep Learning!

Undermined: Voices from the Frontlines of Frac Sand Mining

An OpenHour conversation hosted by Public Lab with collaboration from FracTracker Alliance

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.

About Frac Sand Mining

To learn more about frac sand mining, see FracTracker’s collection of aerial imagery, and explore our collection of articles and interactive maps, please visit our informational page below.


More Audio Stories

  • Well pad from the sky, Ohio

    A Hazy Future Report Cover
  • Site equipment, Pennsylvania state forest

    Drilling on PA state lands
  • Oil derrick, California

    2017 Community Sentinel Award Reception
  • Gas pipeline under construction, West Virginia

  • Well blowout, Eastern Ohio, 2018

    Waiting on Answers - XTO incident image two weeks later
  • Frac sand mining, Wisconsin

    Frac sand mining from the sky in Wisconsin
  • Class II disposal well, Ohio

    Class II disposal well
  • Flaring, North Dakota

    Photo by David Nix 2015
  • Oil refinery, Indiana

    The BP Whiting, IN Oil Refinery
  • Rig at night, Ohio

    For Persevere Post

Nexus Pipeline Interviews

About the Pipeline

According to Enbridge’s NEXUS Pipeline webpage:

Additional pipeline transportation infrastructure is needed in Ohio, Michigan and Ontario, Canada to support the growing demand for clean-burning natural gas and to offset the decline in traditional western Canadian supplies. To meet this need, Nexus Gas Transmission (NEXUS) proposes to construct an approximately 255-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline to deliver 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of clean-burning natural gas from receipt points in eastern Ohio to existing pipeline system interconnects in southeastern Michigan.The lead developers for NEXUS have secured significant market interest in new natural gas supplies in Ohio, Michigan and Ontario to provide increased energy diversity, security and reliability across these regions. Specifically, the project will transport emerging Appalachian shale gas supplies directly to consumers in northern Ohio; southeastern Michigan; and the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada.

In practice, the NEXUS pipeline has received significant resistance from activists that reject the need for such pipelines as well as those that simply don’t want pipelines across their property or in their neighborhood(s). NEXUS is one of nearly a dozen gas transmission pipelines proposed by the unconventional oil and gas industry in Ohio aimed at extracting and transporting natural gas from the Utica/Point Pleasant formations. Products will then be sent off to the global market, where profits are higher than if that gas were simply used within Ohio. The strategies and tactics used by Enbridge have significantly chafed Ohioans, however. The common theme of the interviews we’ve conducted, listed below, has been the slogan “No Imminent Domain for Private Gain”.

Community Interviews

Click on the names of the interviews below to hear community members’ experiences about living near oil and gas development.

We interviewed Green, Ohio resident and Nexus Pipeline Right-Of-Way neighbor Norm First on how Nexus interacted with the community and used law enforcement to enforce their private profit motives. Mr. First lives adjacent to Nexus ROW on Myers Road.

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Part 2:

We interviewed Oberlin resident, small-business owner, and former Washington County, PA resident Ellen Mavrich regarding her thoughts on the Nexus Pipeline inevitably being constructed through Oberlin, Ohio. March 2018

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Part 2:

Part 3:

We interviewed a recently transplanted Florida stay-at-home mother of two living next to the ETP Compressor under Construction in Seville, Ohio. This woman spoke about what she thought when she realized what was moving in next to her and her family, how concerned she is, the fact that the realtor and previous home owner never told them about the compressor, and the fact that they can’t get rid of their home at this point.

  • Robert and his donkey Jake

  • Robert’s family farm adjacent to the Nexus Pipeline

  • Nexus Pipeline staging area west of Huron River

  • Nexus Pipeline centerline stake on Robert’s property

  • Nexus Pipeline staging area west of Huron River

  • Robert Wheeler’s family farm adjacent to Nexus Pipeline

Robert Wheeler is a keyboardist for influential art punk band Pere Ubu by day, and by night and on the weekends is the steward of a family farm that was established in 1861 by Thomas Edison’s family. It is on the banks of the Huron River, and many of the practices Robert has implemented along the banks have been geared towards reducing erosion, increasing wildlife habitat, etc. Now – all those activities are at risk from the nearby Nexus Pipeline. Explore photos from his property and his interview, above.

Community Trust Discussions

In our travels across Appalachian uncoventional oil and gas country, some of the most productive conversation we’ve been privy to has been the frank banter that takes place at diners and coffee houses across the region. The growing lack of trust is not unique to the counties or companies mentioned in the below interview(s), with countless residents telling us about how they don’t buy much of what comes out of the mouths of pipeline right-of-way agents or the unconventional operators and their largely migrant labor force.

Community Interviews

This is a conversation between two unknown gentlemen at the Carroll County, Ohio Airport Restaurant discussing the lack of trust Carroll County residents have in Chesapeake Energy and associated pipeline construction firms like Blue Racer, 3/5/2018.

Class II Injection Wells (Disposal)

For the most part, the popular definition of “fracking”, hydraulic fracturing, or high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) has been constrained to the 4-5 acre well pads dotting Appalachia, the Big Sky states, and The Rockies. However, it is important that people recognize the true scale and scope of the industry’s impact from a water, waste, and land-use perspective.

One of the major aspects of this industry that recieves relatively little coverage is the Class II Salt Water Disposal (SWD) component that disposes of the waste produced during the fracking and oil/gas extraction process. These injection wells have been linked to “induced seismicity,” frequent brine truck spills, human health impacts, and are blamed for much of the increase in truck traffic in and around the communities where these wells exist or are being proposed. We have been in touch with neighbors of existing and proposed Class II wells to gain insight into what it is like to live next to these sites and why activists are concerned about pending proposals from Ohio and Pennsylvania to Oklahoma and Kansas.

Community Interviews

Click on the names of the interviews below to hear community members’ experiences about living near oil and gas development.

  • Class II Injection Well proposal site layout plan

Submit Your Audio Stories

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