10 Resolutions for Our 10th Anniversary
2022 marks an important milestone for the Environmental Health Project (EHP). For 10 years, EHP has defended public health in the face of shale gas development. During that time, we have consistently fought to keep public health protections central to the conversation at local, state, and federal levels. We have grown our expertise, services, and geographical reach throughout that process. And while we have officially dropped “Southwest Pennsylvania” from our original name, that’s exactly where our roots are—and will always be—no matter how far we extend our support. Thank you for your partnership in the past years and for continuing to grow with us as we work to defend public health in the face of shale gas development. As we step into another year, we’d like to share with you 10 resolutions for our 10th anniversary.
Support Communities with Innovative Tools In the last year, EHP has launched and continues to develop the EHP Environmental HealthWatch Model and EHP AirView: A Community Pollution Reporting App. These interactive tools have been implemented in communities conducting air quality monitoring in order to provide local residents with personalized information about their air quality in near real-time. This information, combined with EHP’s expertise and educational resources regarding the health impacts of shale gas development, can enable frontline communities and families to better protect themselves and their loved ones.
Expand Research and Data Collection on Emerging Health Topics As the go-to organization for resources surrounding the health impacts of shale gas development, EHP is committed to consistently pursuing new information and research on current and emerging health topics. We will continue to consolidate this knowledge and share it widely with frontline residents, community groups, and advocacy organizations, ensuring they have access to the latest information by way of factual handouts and webinars.
Educate Policymakers on Health Risks Advocating for stronger public health protections in the policy arena is a crucial part of our mission. This year, we will continue our conversations with elected officials and policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels. This spring, in particular, we will unveil a policy white paper detailing state-level decisions during Pennsylvania’s shale gas boom and what future actions can better protect the health of those living on the front lines. Additionally, we will meet with various Councils of Government throughout the region in late 2022 to better address municipal-level action.
Share Your Stories EHP knows the value of personal narratives; when combined with collected data, they can strengthen advocacy efforts by providing valuable context that numbers alone fail to do. Personal narratives can elevate the voices of frontline residents and build connections—as well as provide hope—to those experiencing similar challenges, while also drawing attention to issues that local policymakers and elected officials must address to effectively support their constituents.
Help Health Professionals Better Serve Patients As a nonprofit public health organization, EHP works with a vast network of frontline communities and concerned residents, partner organizations, policymakers, and health professionals. We provide extensive resources to busy health professionals who may not have the time to stay up to date on the latest research. These tools—including our Health Professional Toolkit, handouts and factsheets, featured research reviews, and more—can help them know where to start when a patient expresses concern about unknown health conditions or proximity to shale gas sites.
Empower Individuals and Communities We believe that knowledge protects health. By closely monitoring the communities around evolving shale gas facilities; collaborating with experts, scientists, and researchers in a variety of health and environmental fields; and investigating the concerns expressed by residents and community groups, we supply individuals and communities with pertinent information about shale gas development and associated health impacts. In arming them with this knowledge, sharing their personal experiences, and backing up those experiences with data, EHP enables impacted people to more effectively advocate for themselves and their communities.
Demand and Deliver Honest, Transparent Information EHP is committed to providing factual data and research-backed information. We will continue to combat external misinformation with facts and continue to offer clear and accurate communication about the health impacts of shale gas development. This knowledge sharing applies to all of our channels—our website, newsletters, social media accounts, webinars and events, and press.
Build Momentum for an Equitable Transition EHP is honored to work alongside a large network of partner organizations, many of which represent historically underserved communities. Together with those organizations and our combined supporters, we are raising awareness that the public health impacts of shale gas development are far-reaching and long-lasting but often most strongly felt in areas that are less able to advocate for themselves. In advocating for a more health-protective approach to resource extraction, we know that it is these voices in particular that need to be elevated and heard.
Expand our Reach For years, EHP has been working with communities outside of Southwest Pennsylvania, having provided expertise and analysis in Colorado, New Mexico, Ireland, and many other places where shale gas development threatens public health. Our formal name change—the dropping of “Southwest Pennsylvania”— simply reflects that growth and our organization’s desire to help new communities living on the front lines of shale gas development. While our roots are—and always will be—in Southwestern Pennsylvania, we know that the impacts of shale gas development are felt far beyond our region.
Continue to Be a Leader in Defending Public Health in the Face of Shale Gas Development EHP has a history of fighting for public health by holding polluters accountable and urging policymakers at all levels of government to take a more health-protective approach to shale gas development. In 2020, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released “Report 1 of the Forty-Third Statewide Investigating Grand Jury,” which examined shale gas operations in the state. The report singled out EHP: “We further find it remarkable that a newly created organization like EHP swiftly gathered data and provided guidance to Pennsylvanians on how they could protect themselves from the effects of industry operations, while a long- established government entity, DOH, did not.” Our work neither starts nor stops there. In working to fulfill our mission, we have and will continue to tie together environmental data, leading health research, and personal narratives to create a contextualized picture of what we know about these impacts on health and how to address them.
Thank you again for your support and partnership in defending public health in the face of shale gas development. We are truly grateful to be stepping into our next decade with you, with both warm enthusiasm and a laser focus. To learn more about our anniversary year events—including a public health summit, policy white paper launch, and “roadshow” of meetings with various Councils of Government—visit our anniversary page and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.