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Environmental Justice
in Oil and Gas

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Taking Your Business to
the Next Level

Understanding the patterns & processes of oil & gas regulation in Colorado.

All people deserve equal protection from environmental risks and equal opportunities to participate in decision making processes that affect local environmental and health outcomes.


The boom in unconventional oil and gas (O&G) development in Colorado, and many other states, has yielded both benefits and risks for communities. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking” or “fracing”) has changed the geography of US energy production by increasing the intensity of extractive activities and infrastructure and bringing them closer to more people than ever before.


This project assesses whether or not the distribution of risks and benefits from O&G development has been equitable, and why (or why not).


In April 2019, public concern over these issues led to policy changes in Colorado that increased local involvement with O&G decisions. This research project examines the implications of this policy innovation and draws lessons for other states considering similar legislation. As the U.S. energy landscape changes and debates on this issue continue across the country, protecting the nation’s health requires understanding how communities are affected and who gets to take part in the decisions surrounding O&G development.


Our team is committed to maximizing the broader academic and policy impacts of our research through collaborative relationships with other researchers, local and state-level decision makers, and members of the public.

More details available here.

Our Team

Our Team


Dr. Katie Dickinson, Principal Investigator (PI), is an Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health in the Colorado School of Public Health, and a JPB Environmental Health Fellow.  Her interdisciplinary research examines how people perceive and respond to risks, as well as the impacts of policies and programs on health and social outcomes.  Past and current projects have addressed problems at the nexus of environmental quality, economic development, and human health, including water and sanitation, household energy and air pollution, and mosquito-borne diseases. Environmental justice is a central focus of her current work.


Twitter: @dickinson_katie


Deserai A. Crow, PhD, Co-PI, is Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. She researches state and local public policy, including environmental policy and disaster or crisis policy. She also studies communication, stakeholder participation in public policy processes, and the narratives used to influence public policy. She earned her PhD from Duke University and an MPA from the University of Colorado Denver.


Twitter: @deseraicrow


Dr. Lisa McKenzie, CO-PI, is an Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health on the University of Colorado Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus. An environmental epidemiologist by training, Dr. McKenzie’s research focuses on the impacts of environmental stressors and interventions on health outcomes. Her research has contributed to the understanding of how exposures resulting from the development of oil and gas resources affect the public’s health.  Her studies are among the first on this topic to appear in the published literature. As a recognized national expert on the public health impact of oil and gas development, she has served on and participated in, by invitation, numerous national boards and workshops concerning the public health implications of oil and gas development.  The United States Congress, the Colorado Legislature, and the Denver Metropolitan Regional Air Quality Council have invited Dr. McKenzie to testify on her research findings.


Dr. John Adgate, CO-PI, is a Professor in the Colorado School of Public Health.  His expertise is in exposure and risk assessment. His research interests include: health impacts and sustainability of energy development, PFAS exposure and health effects, children’s environmental health, and the impacts of air pollution and climate change on human health.

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Dr. William (Ben) Allshouse, CO-PI, is an Instructor in the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus with expertise in the spatiotemporal modeling of environmental exposures. His research areas intersect with the disciplines of environmental science, epidemiology, statistics, and geography, utilizing spatial and spatiotemporal data to advance research in environmental health. A significant component of his work during the last seven years has focused on oil and gas development and its potential impact on the public’s health. Additional research interests include environmental justice, the impact of air pollution on health, and the use of statistical methods for analyzing mixtures of highly correlated exposures. 

Our Partners

Our Partners

Advisory Board

  • Kirk Jalbert, Assistant Professor at the School for Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University with expertise in environmental and energy justice, public engagement and advocacy.

  • Drew Michanowicz, Research Fellow at Harvard C-CHANGE with expertise in spatial analysis of environmental hazards.

  • Jill Johnston, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at University of Southern California with expertise in Environmental health and justice, community engagement.

Policy Engagement

  • Senator Stephen Fenberg, State Senator for CO-18, serving as Senate Majority Leader.

  • Representative Chris Hansen, State Representative for CO-31, Energy economist (PhD, Oxford University), chairs Appropriations Committee, and sits on Joint Budget Committee.

  • Representative Dominique Jackson, State Representative for CO-42,  former Chair and current member of the Energy & Environment Committee with jurisdiction over issues related to SB181 and energy development.

Community Engagement

  • Sara Loflin, Executive Director of the League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans (LOGIC), played key role in advocacy and implementation of SB181, and oversees programs to educate and engage public around O&G issues and policy making.

Data Access

  • Kirk Bol, Branch Chief of the Vital Statistics Program at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Coordinates and assists with access to Colorado Vital Statistics, including birth registry database.

Contact Us
Contact Us

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