Emerging Issues in Oil and Gas Production: Data Gaps, Policy Challenges, and Novel Threats to Health

May 31, 2018
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources



Seth Shonkoff: Oil and Gas Wastewater Reuse in California: Considerations and Risks

Samantha Rubright: Emerging Issues in Oil and Gas Production: Data Transparency and the Falcon Pipeline



Seth Shonkoff:

PSE Healthy Energy

PSE Healthy Energy: Assessment of oilfield chemical use in fields that provide wastewater for agricultural irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley, CA and implications for human health hazards

PSE’s Repository of Oil and Gas Energy Research (ROGER): A near-exhaustive database of peer-reviewed studies on shale and tight gas development by category


Samantha Rubright:

FracTracker's Falcon Public EIA Project

FracTracker's free mobile app for tracking fracking (and associated oil and gas development) near you

Dr. Rubright's LinkedIn Bio

This is the ninth webinar in our series, 20 Pioneers Under 40 in Environmental Public Health.

Recent expansions in oil and gas development, driven in large part by innovations in hydraulic fracturing and drilling technologies, have raised concern about the public health and environmental dimensions of these extractive activities and associated infrastructure. Studies to date have found evidence of water and air pollution and human health impacts including exacerbation of respiratory symptoms, several types of cancer, and poor birth outcomes. In this webinar, Dr. Seth Shonkoff and Dr. Samantha Rubright discussed some of the emerging issues in the oil, gas, and environmental public health arena.

Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) brings scientific transparency to energy policy issues. Dr. Seth Shonkoff, Executive Director at PSE, Visiting Scholar in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, and Affiliate in the Environment Energy Technology Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley California, discussed the public health dimensions of the reuse of oil and gas wastewater for agricultural irrigation of food crops in the State of California. In addition to general background information, Dr. Shonkoff discussed his recent work on chemical use in oil and gas development and implications for public health science and policy.

FracTracker Alliance strives to help people engage with data. Dr. Samantha Rubright, Manager of Communications and Partnerships for FracTracker Alliance, discussed how FracTracker, by working with a variety of stakeholders and innovations in data, is helping to democratize oil and gas development decision-making around important environmental health issues. One of these focus areas is FracTracker's recent Falcon Public EIA Project, a data transparency initiative that is bringing the story of the proposed Falcon ethane pipeline in Southwest Pennsylvania to the public and regulatory agencies for greater scrutiny. 

Featured Speakers

Seth ShonkoffSeth B.C. Shonkoff, PhD, MPH, is the executive director of the energy science and policy institute, PSE Healthy Energy. Dr. Shonkoff is also a visiting scholar in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley and an affiliate in the Environment Energy Technology Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley California. An environmental and public health scientist by training, he has more than 15 years of experience in water, air, climate, and population health research and has published more than 35 peer-reviewed journal articles and reports. He has worked and published on topics related to the intersection of energy, air pollution, water quality, climate, and human health from scientific and policy perspectives. Dr. Shonkoff co-authored the Human Health chapter of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and has led several human health assessments of oil and gas development and storage commissioned by the State of California. Dr. Shonkoff also serves on multiple science-policy expert panels. Dr. Shonkoff completed his PhD in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and his MPH in epidemiology in the School of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.


Samantha RubrightSamantha Rubright, DrPH, CPH is a communications manager with 12 years of experience working on controversial energy, public health, and environmental issues. She is currently the Manager of Communications and Partnerships for FracTracker Alliance, a non-profit she helped to launch whose mission is to study, map, and communicate the risks of oil and gas development to protect the planet and support the renewable energy transformation. With FracTracker, Sam conducts and translates environmental health research for the website; nurtures collaborative relationships; manages FracTracker’s student internship program; and serves as the primary contact for media inquiries. 

Certified in Public Health, Sam obtained a Master of Public Health degree in 2010 from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health’s Behavioral and Community Health Sciences department, and more recently in 2016 her Doctor of Public Health degree from Pitt Public Health's Environmental and Occupational Health department, focusing on the effects of exposure to cyanide and hydrogen sulfide. She has explored and advised on the impacts of extractive industries on communities and public health in Africa and Europe, and is currently serving on Science Communication Network's Oil and Gas Advisory Board.


This webinar was moderated by Karen Wang, PhD, director of CHE. It lasted for 45 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.