Kate Cleary: Key Profiles

1. The Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is one of the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organizations, whose motto is to “explore, enjoy, and protect the planet”. It provides an environmental perspective to fracking and is against the practice because of the belief that “natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decade-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities.” With its vast amount of resources and large reach, the Sierra Club has enough funding to make sure that its information is well supported and research can be conducted by trusted specialists. It also provides information that is pertinent to members of the world and can reach a large audience.

The Sierra Club focuses on four aspects of drilling: closing industry loopholes, cleaning up drilling, protecting parks, and stopping exports. All of these topics include valuable information on how fracking influences the environment from the impacts of air pollution to the value of natural areas that would be impacted. To find this information, go to content.sierraclub.org/naturalgas/content/beyond-natural-gas. The Sierra Club can be contacted in a variety of ways, including: contacting their national headquarters, their legislative office, and even specific email addresses pertaining to specific inquiries and topics. To find this information, follow the website link, and click the tab “Contact Us.”

2. PennEnvironment

PennEnvironment is statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization in Pennsylvania that seeks to protect the natural areas in Pennsylvania while advancing its environmental values. One of the main issues it focuses on is the effects of Marcellus Shale gas drilling on Pennsylvania’s environment. This group takes an anti-fracking stance and calls for an end to gas drilling. Topics the group covers include pollution created by fracking activities and risks fracking poses to the health of the environment. The group also provides news releases on the site about the most up-to-date fracking information. It has a sister organization, PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center, that is dedicated to researching and investigating issues that affect the air, water, and open spaces. This organization also helps to give citizens voices in politics and make the issues known. This site can provide valuable research studies on the environmental impacts of fracking, as well as other impacts. To contact either of these organizations, the website is http://www.pennenvironment.org.On this site, under the “Contact Us” tab, information on how to contact both their Philadelphia and Pittsburgh offices is available. There is also the option to directly send an email to the organization from this page.

3. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Bureau of Forestry

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is a state agency with several branches. It is part of the government of Pennsylvania. Part of this department is the Bureau of Forestry, which specializes in various important environmental issues, including natural gas exploration on state forest lands. The DCNR has overseen controlled natural gas extraction while protecting habitats for plants and animals for over 60 years. The DCNR Bureau of Forestry was the first to issue an oil and gas lease in 1947 and has continued to participate in similar activities while promoting environmental conservation. It believes that state forests should be used as models of conservation as well as to provide timber, recreation, and even natural gas. The Bureau has taken a pro-fracking stance, as long as activities are properly conducted and the integrity of the environment is respected and maintained. Its website provides a wealth of information on natural gas drilling and the impacts this has on our natural lands. Specifically, this group has looked into how fracking will affect state forests that it protects, attempting to find a balance between protecting forests while using natural gas drilling for energy and economic benefits.

To access this group and its resources, the website is http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/naturalgasexploration/index.htm. To contact individuals, the site provides a link to the central office directory in Harrisburg, which contains a list of all employees, their job titles, and their phone numbers. There is also a link to the directory for the Bureau of Forestry, which provides a list of all 20 forest district offices with their address, telephone numbers, and email addresses.

4. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency is a federal government agency that seeks to protect human health and the environment through enforcement of regulations, studying environmental issues, teaching people about the environment, and passing legislation. The EPA has taken a pro-fracking stance with the condition that fracking practices are not at the expense of public health or the environment. The agency does a great deal of research on various issues of fracking, especially regarding the pollution created by fracking and the effects of this on the environment. It focuses on providing oversight, guidance, and rulemaking to achieve the best possible protection for the environment, which includes the air, water, and lands that may be affected. As the main enforcers of laws on fracking, the EPA is one of the best authorities on fracking from which people can obtain useful information on the issues.

To learn more about the EPA’s fracking authority, visit their website: http://www2.epa.gov/hydraulicfracturing. The site provides a long list of ways to get in touch with the agency under the tab “Contact Us”. Under this list, one can find the mailing addresses of the EPA headquarters, regional offices, and laboratories, as well as the directory containing all EPA employees by calling (202) 272-0167. Additionally, for people that wish to report an emergency event, a spill, or releases, they can call 1(800) 424-8802 or fill out a reporting form found on the website.