Fracking Puts Vulnerable Populations at Risk (November 2015 Update)

Fracking threatens health in Pennsylvania and Texas; a national network of special interests is attacking solar energy; roads still don't pay for themselves... and more.

Alana Miller

Policy Analyst

Fracking: Dangerous and Close

Fracking near vulnerable populations in Pennsylvania and on university land in Texas threatens public health

Photo by Kelly Francis

Drilling companies are fracking for shale gas in close proximity to many vulnerable Pennsylvanians, as reported in Dangerous and Close, co-authored with PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center. Permitted fracking well sites are now within one mile of 166 schools, 165 child care centers, 21 nursing care providers and six hospitals across the state, even as a growing body of research links fracking with serious public health threats.

Meanwhile, in Texas, as many as 4,100 wells on University of Texas land have been subject to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, using millions of pounds of chemicals known to harm human health. Our report with Environment Texas Research & Policy Center calls on the university to eliminate worst practices and protect the public. The findings and recommendations were featured in an Austin American-Statesman cover story and in other Texas papers.


Blocking the Sun

Behind the scenes of America’s solar boom, special interests are chipping away at key policies

A national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel industry-funded think tanks is providing funding, model legislation and political cover for anti-solar campaigns across the country. Our new report Blocking the Sun, written with Environment America Research & Policy Center, finds that twelve groups and utilities are running some of the most aggressive anti-solar campaigns.

For example, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the trade group that represents U.S. investor-owned electric utilities, launched the current wave of anti-solar advocacy. Since then, EEI has worked with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on model legislation to repeal state renewable electricity standards. The report continues to inform solar battles around the country, as documented by El Paso Times.


Coming Up

In the run-up to December’s climate change conference in Paris, Frontier Group is partnering with Environment America Research & Policy Center to document global warming’s impact here in the U.S. Our new online interactive map will show declared weather-related disasters by county as well as stories about extreme weather’s personal impact. Look for more news in next month’s update.


In Other News

The Atlantic highlighted our recent analysis on road costs, Who Pays for Roads, concluding transportation pricing is “all wrong”;  senior policy analyst Tony Dutzik launched a new blog series on how easy access to cheap credit is fueling car ownership; on the heels of the pope’s climate message, Alana Miller considered a wave of climate records set this year; Jeff Inglis explained how newly opened data allows fracking analysis…


Frontier Group Staff

Susan Rakov, Director

Tony Dutzik, Senior Policy Analyst

Ally Fields, Jeff Inglis, Alana Miller, Kimberley Norman, Elizabeth Ridlington, Gideon Weissman, Policy Analysts



Alana Miller

Policy Analyst