New map, support tools empower communities to act on oil & gas related air pollution
Washington, DC -- Today, Earthworks’ Community Empowerment Project (CEP) launched a new interactive online tool to help people see, understand and reduce pollution in their communities. The CEP homepage includes a new interactive map of optical gas imaging videos of normally invisible air pollution, personal stories and official complaints; information about the health and climate impacts of air pollution caused by the oil and gas industry; and ways to engage with Earthworks and regulators to reduce that pollution.
“Since the program’s inception in 2014, Earthworks’ Community Empowerment Project has served dozens of communities, exposed the impacts of oil and gas on health and the climate, and triggered accountability by polluters,” said Nadia Steinzor, Earthworks’ Community Empowerment Project manager. “These new tools will engage even more affected residents, increase pressure on state and federal regulators to act, and systematically document bad actors in the fracking industry.”
The new interactive map will allow anyone to search for their home, school or place of work and find documented instances of pollution and any results from complaints Earthworks filed. To date, Earthworks has investigated 1,127 oil and gas facilities in 16 U.S. states and three other countries.
“Our message to industry is we’re watching,” said Bruce Baizel, Energy Program Director. “Companies keep claiming they can reduce emissions and clean up their act. We look forward to seeing this happen and to regulators doing a better job.”
By helping communities file complaints, Earthworks will increase pressure on regulators to enforce rules to reduce pollution and prevent harm. Individuals or groups can request support from Earthworks’ team of experts through three tailored forms:
request that Earthworks’ Community Empowerment Project investigate pollution in your community
get help filing an official complaint with your regulatory agency using your own testimony
register a complaint you filed with regulators
Earthworks uses the same FLIR GF320 optical gas imaging camera that regulators and oil and gas operators nationwide use to find and document pollution at wells and other facilities. Earthworks’ thermographers have also taken industry-standard training to interpret the images produced by the camera. The camera detects 20 climate and health-harming pollutants associated with oil and gas including methane, a climate pollutant 86 times worse than carbon dioxide, and volatile organic compounds like benzene, a known carcinogen.