Washington, D.C. -- Today Earthworks announces the expansion of its Community Empowerment Project (CEP) to push state governments to cut the oil and gas industry’s climate and health damaging air pollution. The expansion is made possible by a 3-year, $3 million grant by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Vernal, UT -- Earthworks released a video taken April 25 showing massive amounts of otherwise invisible air pollution on public lands in Utah, just west of Grand Junction, Colorado. The video comes right as Senate leaders say they will vote on whether to use the Congressional Review Act to permanently revoke the Bureau of Land Management's natural gas waste rule that would significantly reduce this pollution in January 2018.
For over 25 years, Earthworks has worked with frontline communities impacted by mining, drilling, and digging. Two and half years ago, we began using FLIR infrared technology to film and monitor emissions and leaks at oil and gas facilities around the country. In early 2016, these efforts became a formal part of Earthworks, known as the Citizens Empowerment Project (CEP). We opened our doors to concerned citizens everywhere, and began soliciting requests for the FLIR camera on our website.
Last week, NASA released a follow-up study on its 2014 report that exposed a huge methane hotspot looming over the Four Corners. In the original report, NASA did not know what was causing this highly unusual density of methane pollution. The agency’s latest report drilled deeper to find the source of the pollution: the oil and gas industry.
In partnership with Bold Oklahoma and Stop Fracking Payne County, today Earthworks released new infrared videos of oil and gas air pollution in Oklahoma. The infrared videos -- which make visible normally invisible air pollution -- along with video testimonials from impacted community members are part of a national interactive map created by Earthworks, Clean Air Task Force and FracTracker Alliance, OilAndGasThreatMap.com.
Today, Clean Air Task Force and Earthworks unveiled a suite of tools designed to inform and mobilize Americans about the health risks from toxic air pollution from the oil and gas industry. For the first time, Americans across the country—from Washington County, PA, to Weld County, CO to Kern County, CA—can access striking new community-level data on major health risks posed by oil and gas operations.
Every day, an average adult takes about 20,000 breaths to get the oxygen needed for survival. Unfortunately, for the growing number of people living near oil and gas development, that many breaths also provides ample opportunities to take in health-harming pollution.
The shale boom of the last several years has intensified drilling in many places and introduced it in others, adding onto previous drilling and bringing the number of active oil and gas wells nationwide to 1.1 million in 2014.
No wonder oil and gas field residents keep asking basic questions: “What’s in my air?” and "Why is it making me sick?” Yet both the regulators who oversee the oil and gas industry and the policymakers who determine its course respond only with partial, ambiguous answers. They don’t regularly monitor the air directly around well sites and facilities, accurately track the emissions generated, or use the right health standards to judge risks to residents.