Bill Hughes in his Adventura

Staff Spotlight: Bill Hughes

As part of FracTracker’s staff spotlight series, learn more about Bill Hughes and why he works with FracTracker Alliance to document the oil and gas industry.  

Time with FracTracker: I started in July 2014 with FracTracker, but I have been working on these issues for several years

Nickname: Bill

Education: BA from Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia

Office Location: My home in Wetzel County, WV – where the Marcellus Shale gas boom started in 2006

Title: West Virginia Community Liaison

What do you actually do in that role?

My major role is observing and using photography to extensively document the community impacts of shale gas exploration and production on the rural neighborhoods around where we live. I also provide tours of the gas field and do a lot of PowerPoint presentations to interested community and student groups. In over four years I have cumulatively presented to 1,200-1,400 people.

Previous Position and Organization

I am a retired industrial electrician. As an electrician, I previously worked with some coal-bed methane natural gas companies on their electrical control systems.

How did you first get involved working on oil and gas issues / fracking?

We started to become surrounded by the natural gas operations in our neighborhood. We experienced first-hand and close up the massive traffic congestion from the gas invasion, the road clogging truck accidents, air pollution, and muddy streams.

What is one of the most impactful projects that you have been involved in with FracTracker?

I would think that all the tours and presentations graphically showing what shale gas operations, when minimally regulated, look like would provide the most long lasting and powerful contribution to helping others understand the impacts in an active shale gas field.

Bill Hughes

Bill Hughes giving an oil and gas tour in Wetzel County, WV – Photo by Joe Solomon

2 replies
  1. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    If you’re on the well sites you are trespassing…those Pads are clearly marked no trespassing in order to keep everyone safe. I’m not sure how an electrician is qualified to give “tours” and explain the process…we find those that are anti oil and gas are those with out mineral rights and are not sharing directly from the boom. Please “share” responsibly

    • Kirk Jalbert, PhD, MFA
      Kirk Jalbert, PhD, MFA says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Thank you for your comment. Documenting activities in oil and gas communities is very important for communicating how these activities occur on the ground. Mr. Hughes lives amongst some of the heaviest developed gas fields in the country and thus has unique access to bring this material to us. In addition to being a retired electrician, he is also a former member of the county waste commission and very knowledgeable of the process. On several occasions Mr. Hughes has been asked to testify before the WV legislature as well. I encourage you to read some of his contributions to our organization here:

      FracTracker staff are also very much aware of trespassing laws and adhere to them when in the field. In many instances, oil and gas activities are clearly visible from public right of ways such as roads and trails. In other cases, well pads are on state owned land and thus the public has right of access. In other cases still, staff receive permission from landowners and lease holders to be on their property, emphasizing that not all who are concerned about drilling are those without financial interests. I encourage you to view the catalogue of images in our library:

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