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Canonsburg, PA & Washington, DC; Nov 17 — Today Earthworks announced the hire of Leann Leiter as the Oil & Gas Field Advocate for eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The new position is part of Earthworks’ expanded Community Empowerment Project (CEP) to reduce the air, health, and climate impacts of oil and gas production by systematically documenting the industry’s air pollution.

Leann has an extensive background in community engagement and research-based advocacy. Most recently she completed a fellowship with the FracTracker Alliance and Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, where she wrote numerous articles on the health and environmental impacts of oil and gas development. She also spent six years at the Pennsylvania Departments of Public Welfare and Labor and Industry. Leann holds an M.A. in Sustainable Communities from Northern Arizona University and a B.A. in Studio Arts from Dickinson College. A native of central Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Canonsburg, PA.

“I’m thrilled to join the fight to empower communities in protecting our health and climate against the oil and gas industry’s air pollution,” said Leann Leiter. She continued, “Earthworks’ Community Empowerment Project will give regulators in Ohio and Pennsylvania the information they need to enforce and strengthen regulations, and to hold oil and gas operators accountable.”

CEP works nationwide to reveal normally invisible volatile organic compounds, like methane and benzene, with optical gas imaging infrared cameras.Using this information, they partner with affected community members to file complaints with regulators. CEP also presses  state governments to strengthen requirements for operators to cut methane and associated hazardous air pollution.

“The oil and gas industry is exuberant about a second wave of development in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, blatantly ignoring the scientific and real-life evidence of the environmental and human harm they’ve already caused,” said Nadia Steinzor, CEP Manager. “Leann and other CEP staff will push state agencies to do their jobs and put the public interest ahead of industry interests.”

For more information:

  • Community Empowerment Project: http://cep.earthworks.org

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