Virginia Palacios

Senior Research Analyst


Areas of expertise: Venting and flaring, natural gas pipelines, wastewater lifecycle

Virginia Palacios is a Senior Research Analyst working on EDF’s Natural Gas Campaign in the Austin office, and is Co-Chair of the staff Diversity Committee. At EDF, Palacios researches regulations and analyzes data on air quality, water quality, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and community impacts from oil and gas development. In 2014, she helped to develop a series of bilingual workshops in South Texas aimed at teaching people living among oil and gas development how to report potential contamination incidents to the appropriate state agencies.


Virginia earned her Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in 2012. At Duke, Virginia founded the Drilling, Environment, and Economics Network (DEEN) to convene researchers with different perspectives about the costs and benefits of oil and gas development. In 2011, she helped to organize two town halls in Laredo, Texas to raise awareness about the potential human health and environmental impacts of rapidly accelerating oil and gas development in the Eagle Ford Shale. In her master’s thesis, Palacios examined data detailing the chemistry of formation waters in the Eagle Ford Shale, and recommended which chemicals to test for in baseline groundwater quality testing for counties in the Eagle Ford Shale region.

While attending Duke, Palacios also investigated soil erosion rates and slurry pond capacities in a coal mine permit application, and conducted a meta-analysis of native grassland carbon sequestration rates compared to afforested grasslands. Prior to graduate school, Palacios restored native habitats in California and taught youth about climate change and environmental conservation as an AmeriCorps volunteer. Virginia was a commercial- and instrument-rated airplane pilot before changing careers in 2007.


  • Masters of Environmental Management, Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, 2012
  • Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 2007


  • Zavala-Araiza, Daniel, David Lyon, Ramon Alvarez, Virginia Palacios, Xin Lan, Robert Talbot, and Steven Hamburg. 2015. “Towards a Functional Definition of Methane Super-Emitters: Application to Natural Gas Production Sites.” Environmental Science and Technology. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b00133.
  • Lyon, David, Daniel Zavala-Araiza, Ramon Alvarez, Robert Harriss, Virginia Palacios, Xin Lan, Robert Talbot, et al. 2015. “Constructing a Spatially Resolved Methane Emission Inventory for the Barnett Shale Region.” Environmental Science and Technology. doi:10.1021/es506359c.
  • Palacios, Virginia. 2012. “” Duke University.
  • Virginia Palacios

    Virginia Palacios


Austin, Texas office

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