"People" by Faces of Fracking, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

About the Project

Thousands of wells have already been fracked across California — in cities, in farmland, next to schools, in the ocean, and in our National Forests.  But little has been studied about what the impacts will be to our air, water, food, and communities. For years in California the practice has largely operated behind closed doors and without regulation. This is changing, but not fast enough.

So, concerned residents who live on the front lines are speaking out. And we want more people to hear their voices, see their faces, and learn about what’s happening in their communities. Faces of Fracking, a project of the CEL Climate Lab, in partnership with Grist, was launched to capture these stories and share them far and wide.

Journalist Tara Lohan and photographer Sarah Craig are visiting communities across the state to document how fracking affects the people who live there, those who may soon be impacted if the practice spreads, and how they are fighting back. The project is launching with five front line stories and a data visualization about the extent of fracking in California, and will continue to profile other community voices in the months to come.

A note about terminology: Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, refers to the oil and gas industry practice of blasting water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure underground to break apart rock and more easily release hydrocarbons. Some of the stories in this project also cover other kinds of high intensity production methods, such as acidization, gravel packing, and cyclic steam injection.

Meet Our Team

Tara Lohan has over a decade of experience writing about the intersections of water, food, and energy. In 2013, she embarked on a cross-country project, Hitting Home, documenting the community impacts of unconventional energy production on communities. Her work has been published by Bill Moyers, Salon, the Nation, AlterNet, Earth Island Journal, and others.

Sarah Craig is a documentary photographer who uses visual storytelling to spur environmental and social change. She has covered a range of issues – including dam removal, urbanization, and fracking. She studied at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies and her work has been published by EcoWatch, Bay Nature, Portland Press Herald, and others.

Anna Flagg is a San Francisco-based journalist focused on telling stories with data. She’s previously worked with the Center for Responsive Politics and ProPublica, and is currently at Al Jazeera.

For Press

View our digital Faces of Fracking Press Kit and our press release.

Get in Touch

Do you have ideas for stories? Thoughts about how to spread the word? Question about our work? Please give us a holler, we’d love to be in touch.

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Faces of Fracking is a multimedia project telling the stories of people on the front lines of fracking in California.