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Certified Thermographer back on the beat to monitor oil and gas pollution in PA

Philadelphia, PA — Today, Earthworks announces the hire of a new Pennsylvania Field Advocate, Melissa Ostroff. Melissa is working with communities across the Commonwealth to help protect their health and the climate by documenting oil and gas pollution and using that evidence to force changes from government and industry.

Despite climate goals set by Governor Tom Wolf and the recommitment to the Paris Agreement by President Joe Biden, Pennsylvania remains both the 2nd largest producer of methane gas and a million ton plus methane polluter. The unsustainable expansion of fossil fuel drilling has also made Pennsylvania a leading producer of toxic and potentially radioactive industry waste.

Ostroff will make visible oil and gas air pollution that is invisible to the naked eye and document the realities of oil and gas pollution through frequent site investigations across the state.

Ostroff is a certified thermographer through the Infrared Training Center, the same program used by operators and regulators. Earthworks’ research and documentation of industry pollution using optical gas imaging (OGI) has been acted upon by multiple state agencies across the country.

“Pennsylvania officials boast about the state’s expanding methane gas industry, but are far too quiet about the severe impacts on health, climate, and water and air quality,” said Senior Policy Analyst & Research Manager Nadia Steinzor. She continued, “ Melissa Ostroff will strengthen Earthworks’ exposure of industry harms in a way that decision makers can’t ignore, and help push Pennsylvania to do more to protect its residents and climate.”

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work alongside impacted communities in my role as a field advocate with Earthworks,” said Ostroff. “I hope the powerful visual evidence I collect can play a role in reducing the health and climate harms of oil and gas in Pennsylvania.”

Earthworks has released multiple reports on the harms of oil and gas extraction in Pennsylvania including more recently:

ABOUT Melissa Ostroff

  • Melissa is a public health advocate driven by the critical need to hold industry and government accountable to communities and to the scientific evidence. Melissa began her career assisting low-income Philadelphians seeking affordable legal aid, later serving in communications roles with the Pennsylvania State Senate and the University of Pennsylvania. Melissa completed her Master of Public Health degree at the University of Pennsylvania, conducting fieldwork in Philadelphia with the Community Engagement Core of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology. A Fulbright scholar, Melissa holds an M.P.H. from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Government from Franklin & Marshall College.

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