Leading oil and gas reform organization expands presence in Gulf Region
May 2, 2011
Durango, CO, May 2nd --"We are very pleased to announce Texas Sharon as our Gulf Region Organizer, said Gwen Lachelt, Director and Founder of EARTHWORKS' Oil & Gas Accountability Project. Beginning today, Sharon Wilson, aka "Texas Sharon," the prolific and much-respected Bluedaze blogger, becomes a full-time organizer for the nation's leading oil and gas reform organization.
Ms. Wilson will lead the organization's campaign work in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. "The Gulf Region Organizer position represents a milestone for us and we are honored to be adding our voice and expertise to the citizens' movement to reform gas drilling practices in this region", Lachelt stated.
Sharon Wilson is considered the leading citizen expert in the Texas Barnett Shale and the go-to person whether it's top EPA officials from D.C., major national news networks and national environmental organizations wanting an educational tour, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
Sharon spent years educating others about environmental damage caused from weak regulation and lax enforcement before joining forces with the Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP). She worked with the Texas OGAP steering committee for several months to write Drill-Right Texas: Best Oil and Gas Accountability Practices for Texas. Sharon joined OGAP as the part-time Texas organizer in January 2010. She helped neighborhoods all across the Barnett Shale organize and fight for drilling moratoria until city ordinances were updated. Working with impacted communities, she developed case studies of health impacts and presented those to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in North Carolina and then in D.C. These case studies were expanded and compiled with additional information in OGAP's latest report, Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety.
EARTHWORKS' nationally-recognized Oil & Gas Accountability Project was created in 1999 to work with communities to prevent and reduce the impacts caused by energy development. In its first decade, OGAP boldly challenged the notion that natural gas is clean energy by exposing the industry practice of hydraulic fracturing, the widespread use of toxic drilling chemicals and the oil and gas industry's sweeping exemptions from U.S. environmental laws. OGAP has built a national network of diverse organizations addressing drilling issues and has pushed for the passage of precedent-setting laws and regulations protecting landowner rights, special places and public health from Alaska to New Mexico and beyond. OGAP's 2005 publication, Oil and Gas at Your Door? A Landowner's Guide to Oil and Gas Development, is considered the preeminent resource for landowners and communities facing drilling in their backyards.
"Conventional and newer shale gas drilling has a black eye in Texas and throughout the Gulf Region because it fails to respect communities and the environment," said Wilson. "My charge is to help reform state oil and gas regulations, educate and support impacted communities and promote EARTHWORKS' federal reform agenda which includes passing the FRAC Act to remove the exemption of fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act and achieve full disclosure of the chemicals used in drilling and fracturing fluids," Wilson stated.
"Sharon has the combination of skills, experience and energy to build on our great success working with communities to prevent and minimize the impacts caused by energy development, said Lachelt. "We are delighted that she is joining our team."
Before her organizing career, Wilson worked for the oil and gas industry for twelve years.
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For more information:
Sharon Wilson, Gulf Region Organizer: 469 293-1338
Gwen Lachelt, OGAP Director: 970 344-4080