Notable upcoming events and other announcements

2016 New FracTracker Logo

Welcome to FracTracker Alliance 2.0

By Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance

The understanding of fracking’s harms has grown dramatically in the last decade, especially since FracTracker’s formation in 2010. Across the country and around the world, environmental and human health impacts of oil and gas development have been well documented. Every day brings new cause for concern.

During this same period, scientific and public awareness about the consequences and causation of climate change has accelerated and we watch with trepidation as profound changes grip our planet. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have eclipsed 400 ppm. Temperature records are repeatedly broken. Weather extremes have become routine.

These tragic realities aren’t acceptable. Nationally and internationally, hundreds – if not thousands – of organizations are working on these issues and speaking out for transparency, accountability, and progress. Progress means informed populations, responsible policies, and an aggressive shift to renewable energy while embracing efficiency. Great things are happening. The future demands boldness.

FracTracker has always been a data-driven resource for all – to educate, empower, and catalyze positive change. The Alliance in our name underscores that we are an ally with the multitudes in that quest, but the weight of the times requires us to revisit our mission statement (below) and sharpen our message to better convey what we do and why we do it. A new logo and tagline reinforce our pronouncement.

FracTracker Alliance studies, maps, and communicates the risks of oil and gas development to protect the planet and support the renewable energy transformation.

So, welcome to the freshened words and appearance of the FracTracker Alliance. We’re the same trusted organization but striving to be bolder, to make a bigger difference for us all. The future is now.

New FracTracker Alliance 2.0 Logo without tagline


If you have questions about these organizational changes, please email us at info@fractracker.org, or call +1 202-630-6426.

FracTracker is Seeking Paid Spring Interns

Update: The online application process has ended. Candidates who submitted applications will hear from us by January 22, 2016.

Are you a current or recent college grad, and do you enjoy working with datasets, visualizations, maps, or even writing about oil and gas issues? If so, please consider applying for one of FracTracker’s paid internships this spring. These internships run from February 15 through August 15, 2016. This year we are seeking paid spring interns for the following offices: Cleveland, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; and Washington, DC. See where we work.

Deadline to apply: January 18, 2016 at 5:00pm eastern.

Why Join Us

Internships at the FracTracker Alliance offer students invaluable resume-building work experience and networking opportunities. Not only will you work closely with members of our team, but you will also have the opportunity to learn about and contribute to many aspects of our oil and gas work. Interns will also have the opportunity to participate in events that increase their professional networks and interact with our partner organizations. Meet our current interns.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities of paid interns revolve around the daily work of the other FracTracker staff as well as time-sensitive projects. Due to FracTracker’s web and mapping focus, the primary skills we seek out of internship applicants are those that would allow them to do GIS mapping, communications projects, or a combination of the two.

Interns will work 15 hours per week for ~26 weeks and will be compensated $11/hour. This position is not eligible for health benefits.

Update: The online application process has ended. Candidates who submitted applications will hear from us by January 22, 2016.

Oil Train Response 2015

November 13-15, 2015

Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinated by FracTracker Alliance and ForestEthics

Couldn’t make it?
Watch Friday’s Presentations
Or check out the conversation on Twitter: #oiltrain15

About the Event

Over the past few years, oil train traffic across the continent has increased rapidly with more than 500,000 rail cars moving oil in 2014 alone, according to the Association of American Railroads. The recent Lac-Mégantic, Quebec disaster and subsequent accidents illustrate the severity of this issue. There is a pressing need to determine true hazards facing our communities and to develop solutions to prevent further disasters. Across the United States and Canada, the issue of oil trains has quickly risen onto the agenda of community leaders, safety experts, researchers, and concerned citizens. There is much to discover and share about protecting people and vulnerable places from the various risks these trains pose. Oil Train Response 2015 provides two invaluable forums on this most pressing problem and provides information and insights for every audience.

November 13, 2015

Community Risks & Solutions Conference
Presented by The Heinz Endowments

November 14 & 15, 2015

Activist Training Weekend
Presented by ForestEthics

 

Conference – November 13th

Friday, Nov 13th: 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM. View Agenda

The one-day conference presented by The Heinz Endowments invites all interest groups to hear from experts about the scale and scope of this challenge, as well as updates on the current regulatory and legal frameworks; consider case studies about the actions/measures taken by various communities in response; and, participate in discussion sessions to explore solutions to better safeguard communities. Elected officials, regulators, and emergency response professionals from Pennsylvania and beyond are especially encouraged to attend to take advantage of this important learning and networking opportunity.

Training – November 14-15th

Saturday, Nov. 14th: Training 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM. Reception 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Sunday, Nov. 15th: Training 7:30 AM – 2:00 PM

A two-day training presented by ForestEthics will equip grassroots and NGO leaders from across the nation with better skills to take back to their communities, and provide critical opportunities for attendees to share winning strategies with each other. In the process of sharing, the conference will help to build both the oil train movement and support the broader environmental and social justice movements. Areas of strategic focus will include: organizing, communications, spokesperson training, data management for organizers, legal strategies, and crowd-sourced train tracking. It will also provide a structured forum for advocates fighting specific oil terminal proposals in places like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Albany to develop shared strategies and tactics and provide all participants with the skills, knowledge and contacts they will need to carry on this work once they return home.

Oil trains are a major environmental justice issue. The conference and training will speak directly to environmental justice concerns and be inclusive of communities of color, economically disadvantaged urban and rural regions, and communities already experiencing environmental inequities. To this end, need-based travel scholarships will be provided. We are committed to developing the agenda in close consultation with our allies and attendees so that it meets their needs.

Please contact us with questions or requests: anne@forestethics.org.


Many thanks to Paul Heckbert & Randy Sargent of CMU for supplying the oil train photo (top).

OES Workshops

Our Energy Solutions

14 workshops in 7 countries on 3 continents

A FracTracker team has just returned from North Carolina where fracking has been given the green light by the state’s government. Time may tell what reserves are contained within the Mesozoic basins but already landmen are knocking on doors and striking deals with willing landowners. Offshore drilling is also under consideration in a state where tourism – fueled in part by renowned beach destinations – is a $20 billion a year industry.

OES Panel in Asheville

OES panel answering questions in Asheville, NC

The visit was for Our Energy Solutions, a project bringing 14 workshops to seven countries on three continents. The aim is to help build a global community of engaged citizens and stakeholders who are informed of the risks of fossil fuels (like oil and natural gas), enlightened about renewable energy opportunities, and inspired to share ideas for a more sustainable planet.  The attendance, interest, and dialogue at the North Carolina workshops were inspiring. People young and old came out to prove there is great concern about these issues. While acknowledging the complexities of energy and climate challenges, they seemed willing to dig-in, reach-out, engage, and act. The audiences owned the “Our” in Our Energy Solutions.  Just weeks earlier, another team from FracTracker and the Ecologic Institute – the lead collaborators in Our Energy Solutions – launched the project with workshops in Florida, hosted by the South Florida Wildlands Association. In North Carolina, our partners were Environment North Carolina and MountainTrue. These regional and statewide groups offer abundant ways to get involved and illuminate a better path forward.

BackPageAlt2_windmillsBoth states are at risk from accelerated and more extreme hydrocarbon extraction, but both also bear significant potential for broad success with renewable energy. While only 0.1% of Florida’s current generating capacity comes from solar, it has some of the strongest incoming solar radiation in the country. North Carolina sports the best conditions for offshore wind energy on the east coast. The Tarheel State ranked 2nd in the nation for new installed solar capacity in 2014, and the same year, over 4,300 North Carolinians worked in the solar power industry. Already, 4,800 Floridians work in the solar industry.

Wellsbycounty-Feature

Well density by county in the U.S.

The volatile economics of oil and gas, the effects of fossil fuel combustion on the planet, and the impairment of human health and the environment caused by extraction necessitate other approaches to meet our energy needs. Our Energy Solutions will strive to showcase brighter possibilities – one workshop at a time. Next stop, Argentina – May 5-12th.

Check out Our Energy Solutions on Facebook and join the conversation!

Intern Button

Paid Spring 2015 Internships with FracTracker


FracTracker is offering four paid, spring 2015 internships that run mid-February through mid-August out of the following offices:

  • Camp Hill, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA (2)
  • Cleveland Heights, OH

FracTracker interns are current college or graduate students who aid in conducting research, gathering and analyzing data, writing articles, managing the website, and mapping geo-located data. Paid interns are expected to work 15 hours per week for ~26 weeks and are compensated $11/hour. This position is not eligible for health benefits.

Update: The deadline for this application was January 26, 2015. The application process has now closed. Learn more about internships with FracTracker.

Happy Holidays from all of us at FracTracker

A Toast to the Tireless

By Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance

While the year slows to a close, the FracTracker Alliance never stops. We churn out maps and analyses to enlighten America and the world about the impacts of unconventional energy extraction. Our work pays dividends: a website visitor discovers drilling nearby; a legislator learns about the industry’s rate of water consumption; data are synthesized for an organization making policy recommendations; students discover the true footprint of fracking. Day by day, we are nurturing a more positive energy future.

And our reputation as a trusted resource grows. Al Jazeera America recently featured our examination of the proximity of drilling near schools in California. Days earlier, Commissioner Martens of the NY DEC mentioned (at 57:00) FracTracker by name in a press conference announcing a ban on fracking in New York. These citations are affirming, but until the planet gets a respite from warming, communities liberated from threats to air and water, and nature conserved more than marred, we – and our many partners – have endless work to do.

These activities require time and money. We tip our hats to the funders who have made our efforts possible and welcome donations from those who believe in our mission. If you’re feeling inspired to make a year-end contribution, you can do it online. Thank you for your support!

A Bold 2015

FracTracker is thinking boldly for 2015 – exploring new topics, investigating local concerns, building more partnerships, encouraging citizen science (in part, through our mobile app), invigorating social media and communication tools, and reaching out to audiences near and far. In fact, we’ll be taking our findings on the road in 2015 – with workshops planned in Florida, North Carolina, Argentina, United Kingdom, Belgium, Poland, and Hungary – in addition to conducting outreach in the U.S. regions where we already operate. That’s just the beginning.

In anticipation of the challenges to come, and with gratitude for staff and board members, donors, researchers, brave organizations, nonstop advocates, and caring people coast to coast, a toast to you! May you all have a healthy, happy new year!

FracTracker Launches Oil and Gas Tracking App

Pittsburgh, PA – FracTracker Alliance announces the release of our free iPhone app – designed to collect and share experiences related to oil and gas drilling across the United States. As unconventional drilling or “fracking” intensifies, so too do the innovative ways in which citizens can track, monitor, and report potential issues from their smart phones.

The app allows users to submit oil and gas photos or reports. Users can also view a map of wells drilled near them and user-submitted reports. This map shows wells that have been drilled both unconventionally and conventionally.

“FracTracker’s app contributes to the collective understanding of oil and gas impacts and provides a new opportunity for public engagement,” explains Brook Lenker, Executive Director of the FracTracker Alliance. “We hope that our mobile app will revolutionize how people share oil and gas information.”

Development Partners

Several organizations and community groups helped to test and improve the app during its development. To address questions about the impacts of oil and gas development across landscapes, FracTracker joined with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) to create a crowd-sourced digital map with photos detailing the scale of oil and gas development near North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park using the app. The photo map is part of a NPCA’s campaign designed to educate citizens about the cross-landscape impacts of oil and gas development near America’s national parks. NPCA is hosting two events this week in support of this campaign work – in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

“FracTracker’s new app allows us to tell a visual story about fracking’s impacts to national parks and their local communities,” said Nick Lund, who manages the NPCA’s Landscape Conservation program. “With this week’s public events in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, we will show the dramatic impact that fracking continues to have, in just a few years, near Theodore Roosevelt National Park. These images can help inform the public and our elected officials as they finalize drilling regulations in Pennsylvania. We hope this information will lead to strong protections for our national parks, our forests, and our drinking water.”

Beta testing and reviews of the app were also conducted by Mountain Watershed Association, Responsible Drilling Alliance, Audubon PA, PA Forest Coalition, Southwest PA Environmental Health Project, and Save Our Streams PA. The app was developed in collaboration with Viable Industries, L.L.C.

Like NPCA, groups can use the FracTracker app to collect visual data and develop customized maps for their own projects. Contact FracTracker to learn more: info@fractracker.org.

Download the App

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40

Download the free app from the iTunes store or visit FracTracker.org to learn more: www.fractracker.org/apps. Currently the app is only available for only iPhone users, but an Android platform is due out later this year.

App Screenshots

app1

See a map of wells near you or submit a report.

app4

The legend describes the points on the map in more detail.

app2

Clicking on a dot shows the record/well

app3

Clicking the “i” shows you more information about the point

# # #

Media Contact

Samantha Malone
FracTracker Alliance
malone@fractracker.org
412-802-0273

FracTracker Alliance is a non-profit organization with offices in PA, OH, NY, WV, and CA that shares maps, data, and analyses to communicate impacts of the global oil and gas industry and inform actions that positively shape our energy future. Learn more about FracTracker at www.fractracker.org.

National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its one million members and supporters, and many partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for our children and grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.npca.org.

Train Counts - Call for Volunteers

Help Us to Track Oil Trains in Pittsburgh and Beyond

Call for Volunteers

FracTracker Alliance and the CREATE Lab at CMU are seeking volunteers to track oil trains on October 21st near Pittsburgh, PA for 2-hour segments from 7:00am – 7:00pm.

Sign up to participate (Link Deactivated, Archived Event)

Approximately 400,000 barrels of oil are transported daily from the west, following tracks from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale Play, which typically run through populated urban areas such as Pittsburgh. These trains have been known to derail and cause immense damage. The most recent of cases occurred in Québec in July of 2013, when a derailed train and the subsequent explosions resulted in the deaths of 47 people. The transportation of volatile crude oil from western states to major cities up and down the Eastern seaboard poses a major risk to any town or city through which these trains pass. FracTracker and affiliated groups want to understand the true risk that these volatile train cars pose to our region.

FracTracker and CREATE Lab will use the data collected during this project to analyze the frequency and risk of crude oil freight trains passing through the Pittsburgh area, but we need your help.

We are looking for volunteers that can commit to a two-hour shift throughout the day on October 21st. Volunteers will be equipped with a video camera, tripod, and of course coffee and snacks in order to record the passing of trains in either direction throughout a two-hour shift. The video footage will allow us to identify a plaque that is required to be displayed on cars carrying oil, as well as whether the cars are empty or full.

If you are interested in volunteering with FracTracker and this freight train project, follow the link above to sign up for a shift. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns at (412) 802-0273 or Malone@FracTracker.org. We hope to see you there!

About Us

FracTracker Alliance is a non-profit with an office in the Pittsburgh area whose mission is to share maps, data, and analyses to communicate impacts of the global oil and gas industry and to inform actions that positively shape our energy future. www.fractracker.org

The Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Lab (CREATE Lab) explores socially meaningful innovation and deployment of robotic technologies and is based out of Carnegie Mellon University. www.cmucreatelab.org

Unpaid Interns Sought for Fall 2014

Intern ButtonThere is always more work to do than FracTracker has staff. For the fall, we’re on the search for some unpaid interns to help out in the following offices:

  • Camp Hill, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Wheeling, WV
  • Cleveland Heights, OH
  • Oakland, CA

FracTracker interns are current college or graduate students who aid in conducting research, gathering and analyzing data, writing articles, managing the website, and mapping geo-located data. These are unpaid positions, as our paid internships run February – August each year. Because the fall internships are unpaid, however, students can choose to seek receipt of academic credits through their academic institution. These position are not eligible for health benefits.

If interested, apply online today. Deadline: July 15, 2014.

Three Cities, One Cause

FT-Fundraiser-DecorBy Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance

Tracking the impacts of oil and gas development is downright sobering. Sometimes recharge is needed for the work ahead, so as the FracTracker Alliance approaches its two-year organizational anniversary, it is due time to make time for fun and mixing with friends, partners, and supporters. On a parallel course, our strategic plan underscores the importance of diversifying the sources of income that sustain our efforts. These two needs create ideal synergy for our upcoming fundraising events, coming soon to three great American cities.

On May 16, the Beach Chalet in San Francisco refreshes with house beer, bites, and Pacific views. May 22, the Wine Spot in Cleveland indulges attendees with sumptuous wines and cheeses. Wigle Whiskey serves it by sips and slurps, June 10, in Pittsburgh’s first distillery since prohibition. More than tasty libations, these altogether fine evenings offer door prizes, silent auction items, and special exhibits of maps and art to enlighten and intrigue. FracTracker board members and staff will share in the festivities. Add you – and the occasions are sure to be picture perfect. Come out for the cuisine, the camaraderie, but most of all, for the cause!

Tickets and/or RSVP’s are required for all events. Click on your city of interest below to learn more.

CA-Button OH-Button Pgh-Button