One Year in FLIR: Exposing invisible fracking air pollution

 

PRESS RELEASE

hilary-lewisGuest post by Hilary Lewis
Earthworks Online Communications Coordinator

One year ago, thanks to the generous support of Earthworks members, we bought a FLIR Gasfinder camera to expose otherwise invisible air pollution from fracking and drilling operations.

With this camera, we are able see what industry is trying to hide, and show that fracking isn’t clean or safe. We put the results of this technology in the hands of everyday citizens living with oil and gas in their backyard so they can see what’s really going on and demand action.

We call it the Citizens Empowerment Project.

Today, we have almost 150 videos documenting fracking pollution in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. And that’s just the beginning.

In our first year pounding the pavement, exposing pollution and listening to similar stories of nosebleeds, nausea, headaches and heartache across the country, we learned a lot.

Our most powerful takeaway: seeing is believing.

Even for people living with the health and air quality impacts of fracking and drilling, seeing it can make a difference. But we are doing more.

By showing these videos to reporters and regulators we are instigating action to create real, lasting change for people living in the gaspatch.

Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency is considering national rules limiting methane pollution from oil and gas operations. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, 86x worse for climate than carbon dioxide (CO2). By exposing the pollution we’re moving thousands of people take action and write the EPA demanding stronger rules. To date, more than 30,000 concerned citizens have watched our video calling on the EPA to regulate methane pollution, generating over 10,000 letters directly to the EPA.

In the next year we’ll continue to expose pollution with our FLIR camera in new states like North Dakota, but we’ll also revisit the communities we have already been to with more resources like our new our new portable gas analyzer, the ppbRAE, which quantifies the pollution, and information on how to document health impacts and file official complaints.

We’re also continuing to work on the national level, gaining more media attention and using the videos to move people to action, demanding stronger federal regulations and protections for our air, climate and health.

In everything we do, you can play a role. Adding your voice and supporting the Citizens Empowerment Project make a real difference. The only way we will get meaningful reform to our inadequate laws, close the loopholes for polluters, and protect public health and our climate is by exposing the harm and, together, demanding action.

We’re proud of all that we have accomplished in our first year with this invaluable new tool to help communities living with oil and gas. You can see all of our videos online here and watch our first short film in support of strong federal rules to protect clean air from fracking pollution below.

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From the Styx: I would like to add my thanks to the citizen activists in Garfield County who participated in the Citizens Empowerment Project. You know who you are. We could not have created the Garfield County FLIR tour without you. Keep up the great working you’re doing!

Seeing is believing!
Take the Garfield County FLIR tour

FLIR still images 3-18-15For more information:

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