Madeleine Smith: Key Profiles

Important Influences on Colorado and Pennsylvania Fracking Regulation

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Governor John Hickenlooper served as Denver’s Mayor from 2003-2010, then was elected Governor in 2010 and has been re-elected ever since (About the Governor, 2013).  Hickenlooper, previously a geologist, has advocated for the development of the hydraulic fracturing industry across Colorado and even drank Halliburton fracking fluid at a meeting to prove its safety (Norris, 2013).  Hickenlooper has been wildly popular but his open support for fracking may jeopardize his 2014 re-election (Norris, 2013).  With the passing of stricter laws regulating pollutants, his stance on the industry has significantly impacted environmental controversies across Colorado.  On Governor Hickenlooper’s website is a link to write to the governor (

U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Regional Offices

The BLM regional offices are a primary enforcers for fracking regulation on public lands at the local level.  The BLM is a federal organization, but offices scattered throughout the states are extremely involved in keeping state and local fracking restrictions in line with federal policy.  Inspectors from the BLM enforce policy when state officials are spread too thin and actively visit sites in boomtowns and other locations in need. The BLM is working to improve efficiency and transparency with updated computer systems that make data about drilling on public land openly available.  The best website to find this information is  Additionally, the BLM website has a “Contact Us” page to send e-mails as well as lists of regional offices across the country.

Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition

The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition started as a small group of activists in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and has continued to grow and share information with the public via open meetings, social media, brochures and its own website.  In its mission statement, the group claims that it is an organization “whose
 members are concerned with the negative effects of the Industrial Process
of Drilling for Natural Gas in PA.” (Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, 2012). The website provides in-depth explanations of the fracking process and controversy along with numerous links to information about issues of concern, local news, education, and meetings.   The website looks cluttered but provides a vast amount of useful information.  The “Contact-Join” tab on the GDAC website is the best place to go to contact the Coalition (

Abrahm Lustgarten

Abrahm Lustgarten, a 2003 MA Columbia University graduate, has been at the forefront of environmental journalism since he joined ProPublica, an investigative news site, in 2008. His work on hydraulic fracturing for ProPublica has won numerous awards (About Us: Abrahm Lustgarten, 2013).   Lustgarten has immensely improved transparency of fracking by providing consistent and understandable coverage of the major news and progress concerning both the industry and politics of fracking. Lustgarten has written many stories and an e-book over the past few years focusing on the fracking controversy, issues and processes. He can be e-mailed at and is on twitter (@AbrahmL) as well.