As vaccines started to roll out this spring, several of our field advocates have been able to safely travel within their states and use our optical gas imaging cameras to make visible the normally invisible air pollution from oil and gas facilities.
Many of our oil and gas site visits are in response to concerns from communities who have shared nightmarish stories of living near these facilities. Headaches, nosebleeds, having to endure waves of gassy odors and noise—in some cases, it’s enough to prompt these families to move. The discoveries we made in our latest round of fieldwork is no different, and it’s a stark reminder of the urgency with which we need to transition to renewables.
One example of community impacts comes from our latest work in Colorado. Senate Bill 181 promised Coloradans that people would be prioritized above the oil and gas industry, but communities are still waiting, even after new rules have now been put in place, for meaningful change.
Over 12.6 million people in the United States live within half a mile of an oil and gas facility. Time and time again, our fieldwork has made clear that current oil and gas regulations are not nearly enough to prevent harm to these communities and to the climate.
Meaningful progress, however, is possible even despite these challenges. Our optical gas images of oil and gas pollution have raised the profile of local fights from backyards to national news outlets. In Texas, our field experience helped us make public that 70% of oil and gas operations were operating unpermitted equipment. And in New Mexico, our official complaints about pollution have prompted state regulators to go after some chronic polluters.
For the sake of these communities and our climate future, we can’t stop fighting. You can make an impact this Earth Week and help hold polluters accountable by joining our Sustainability Circle. Your monthly gift will help ensure communities living on the frontlines oil and gas get the support they deserve in the fight for our clean energy future.