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Launching FracTracker’s 2018-19 Annual Fund – Letter from Michele Fetting

Dear Friends,

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has come a long way. While still challenged by air and water pollution, the sun shines on the city – my city – revealing a place of promise. Greenways embrace our rivers, solar energy sprouts on rooftops, innovation and entrepreneurship blossom block-by-block. The new Pittsburgh is vibrant, hopeful, and alive.

But an ominous cloud could darken the region for decades – and I’m not referring to the chaotic weather that climate change is already delivering.

No, the approaching storm is petrochemical development – from monstrous ethane crackers poised to inundate the world with toxic plastic, to an acceleration of destructive fracking and pipeline construction pumping fuel and feedstock to these hazardous facilities. Call it a dystopia, but if greed prevails, it will infest our region and others, as well.

I prefer a healthier, more colorful future – and I bet you do, too.

I am proud of the accomplishments of the many environmental organizations I work with every day. They all are impressive. Each offers unique strengths and talents to improve communities and protect the natural world. I have been an admirer of FracTracker Alliance for many years. Born in the Burgh, they’ve branched out and collaborate nationwide to show and tell about the harms of extraction (and everything it represents) through their amazing maps and data-driven insights. Whether it’s in local meetings, statewide hearings, or national reports, their information arms advocates for better energy development and sustainable solutions. Their cool digital apps equip anyone – and hopefully everyone – with tools they can use to report oil and gas impacts wherever they happen.

FracTracker is working for us, but they need our help.

We need to fight petrochemical expansion on every front. In addition to an army of caring people, the battle requires data, visualizations, outreach, and technology – services that FracTracker offers with abundance and often at no cost to the user. Please consider a donation to FracTracker as they launch their Annual Fund Campaign for 2018-2019.

They exist to support others, and here’s a chance to support them.

FracTracker is lean and efficient, but it takes ample funding to continue to do what they do so well. Please give. We have a long struggle ahead, but with generosity and fortitude our hope-filled vision will prevail.

Sincerely,

Michele Fetting - Sq

Michele Fetting
Annual Fund Chair

Bill Hughes giving tour to students in shale fields, WV

A Cross-Country Ride to Support Oil and Gas Tours in West Virginia

Bill Hughes giving tours of gas fields in West Virginia. Photo by Joe Solomon. https://flic.kr/s/aHskkXZj3z

Bill Hughes giving a tour of gas fields in West Virginia. Photo by Joe Solomon.

As many of you know, educating the public is a FracTracker Alliance core value – a passion, in fact. In addition to our maps and resources, we help to provide hands-on education, as well. The extraordinary Bill Hughes is a FracTracker partner who has spent decades “in the trenches” in West Virginia documenting fracking, well pad construction, water withdrawals, pipeline construction, accidents, spills, leaks, and various practices of the oil and gas industry. He regularly leads tours for college students, reporters, and other interested parties, showing them first-hand what these sites look, smell, and sound like.

While most of us have heard of fracking, few of us have seen it in action or how it has changed communities. The tours that Bill provides allow students and the like to experience in person what this kind of extraction means for the environment and for the residents who live near it.

Biking to Support FracTracker and Bill Hughes

Dave Weyant at the start of his cross-country bike trip in support of WV tours

Dave Weyant at the start of his cross-country Pedal for the Planet bike trip

In the classic spirit of non-profit organizations, we work in partnership with others whenever possible. Right now, as you read this posting, another extraordinary Friend of FracTracker, Dave Weyant (a high school teacher in San Mateo, CA), is finishing his cross-country cycling tour – from Virginia to Oregon in 70 days.

Dave believes strongly in the power of teaching to reach the hearts of students and shape their thinking about complicated issues. As such, he has dedicated his journey to raising money for FracTracker. He set up a GoFundMe campaign in conjunction with his epic adventure, and he will donate whatever he raises toward Bill’s educational tours.

Help us celebrate Dave Weyant’s courage, vision, and generosity – and support Bill Hughes’s tireless efforts to open eyes, evoke awareness, and foster communication about fracking – by visiting Dave’s GoFundMe page and making a donation. Every gift of any size is most welcome and deeply appreciated.

100% of the funds raised from this campaign will go to support Bill’s oil and gas tours in West Virginia. FracTracker Alliance is a registered 501(c)3 organization. Your contribution is tax deductible.

And to those of you who have already donated, thank you very much for your support!

Pedal Power for the Planet

We are excited to announce that FracTracker will be the beneficiary of a cross-country cycling expedition! Starting today, Dave Weyant of San Mateo, California will set out on a 4,262 mile cross-country journey on the Transamerica Route from tidewater Virginia to the Oregon Coast. The funds raised through this ride will be used by FracTracker to conduct tours and presentations to college and high school students – to show them first-hand or through compelling maps and imagery the harms that accompany oil and gas development and the better energy options available now. If you’d like to donate, please visit Dave’s Go Fund Me page. We appreciate your contribution for this important purpose.

Interview with Dave Weyant:

We interviewed Dave to learn more about his motivations for the trek and for supporting FracTracker.

When did you start thinking about doing this adventure?

Since 1976, when the Trans Am trip was first done to celebrate the bicentennial; I was 10 years old.

What excites you most about this trip/what are you looking forward to?

The self-reliance aspect of it, the fact that all I have will be on my bike. And all those miles, slowly seeing the US landscape change. I imagine I’ll have to eat a lot, too, and I enjoy eating.

What do you think will be the greatest challenges?

Humidity, bad weather, and a few things to be determined that I hadn’t planned for.

Why are you helping out FracTracker?

I’m concerned about fracking and fossil fuel development, especially the effects on the environment, drinking water, and how all this activity tends to slow or detract from investments in renewable energy. Being a history teacher, I hate the thought of someone looking back on us and saying “what were they thinking?”

What gives you hope that we can save the planet and effectively fight climate change?

Young people who care and are informed.

What was your favorite cycling experience to date?

Cycling down the coast from San Francisco to LA. Beautiful!

Why should others take up cycling? Why is it important to you?

It is a clean source of transportation. It keeps us healthy, removes cars from the road, and takes you back to being a kid pedaling through your neighborhood.


Support Dave’s Endeavor
Donations are tax deductible and benefit FracTracker Alliance

Check back throughout the summer for more articles & info about Dave’s experiences on the road.

Putting the “Fun” in Fundraisers

By Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance

Great turnout and whiskey

Enjoying some whiskey in Pittsburgh

It’s almost July, but just a few weeks ago, FracTracker wrapped up the last of three fundraising events. From a site in San Francisco overlooking the Pacific to a budding distillery in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, friends and colleagues came together to show their support for our work and their concern about the effects of unconventional drilling. If you were able to join us for these events – whatever the motivation, we appreciated your collective, deliberate act of kindness. Thank you!

The gatherings were generally small but lots of fun – full of conversation, positive energy, and, yes, good spirits. At the Cleveland Heights event, we even had live music thanks to the jazzy guitar of Alan Brooks and at all three venues a colorful exhibit of thought-provoking, conversation-stoking maps entitled “Cartography on Canvas.” These events were our first foray into fundraisers. From the experience they’ll be improved and made even more memorable, unique, extraordinary. That’s our goal.

We aim to entice more attendees, enhance our revenue, and, most importantly, grow the network of the informed – not just informed about the activities of FracTracker but of all the groups, efforts, and learnings related to the impacts of extreme hydrocarbon extraction. Soon, another round of events – guaranteed to be mood improving, mind expanding affairs – will be rolled out. Prepare to mark your calendars, join the fun, and make your own social statement!

A special thank you goes out to FracTracker staff, interns, and board members who put in extra time and effort to help ensure the success of these initial fundraisers. Thank you, too, to our incredible door prize and auction item contributors:

Events

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