In Pennsylvania, fracking companies violate rules and regulations meant to protect the environment and human health on virtually a daily basis. Between January 1, 2008, and September 30, 2016, fracking companies together committed a combined total of 4,351 violations, or an average of 1.4 violations per day. Between 2008 and 2016, just 17 percent of violations of rules meant to protect the environment and public health at unconventional wells were accompanied with a fine. When they were, the median fine was only $5,263.
Drilling companies are fracking for shale gas in close proximity to many vulnerable Pennsylvanians. There are fracking operations within 1 mile of 166 schools, 165 child care providers, 21 nursing care providers and six hospitals.
Pennsylvania is blessed with incredible public lands, from the famed hiking paths and scenic vistas of Loyalsock and Cook State Forests, to the pristine woods and walking trails of the Delaware Water Gap. Unfortunately, many of these places are under threat from fracking.
Across the country, fracking is contaminating drinking water, making nearby families sick with air pollution, and turning forest acres into industrial zones. We believe it is vital for the public to hear directly from people living on the frontlines of fracking, and so Environment America Research & Policy Center is supporting the Shalefield Stories project—a booklet designed and published by Friends of the Harmed, group of volunteer citizen-journalists committed to providing support to affected individuals and families living in the shalefields of Western Pa.
Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has fused two technologies—hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—in a highly polluting effort to unlock oil and gas in underground rock formations across the United States.
As fracking expands rapidly across the country, there are a growing number of documented cases of drinking water contamination and illness among nearby residents. Yet it has often been difficult for the public to grasp the scale and scope of these and other fracking threats. Fracking is already underway in 17 states, with more than 80,000 wells drilled or permitted since 2005. Moreover, the oil and gas industry is aggressively seeking to expand fracking to new states—from New York to California to North Carolina—and to areas that provide drinking water to millions of Americans.
This report seeks to quantify some of the key impacts of fracking to date—including the production of toxic wastewater, water use, chemicals use, air pollution, land damage and global warming emissions.
"Fracking” operations pose a staggering array of threats to our environment and health. Many of these damages from drilling have significant “dollars and cents” costs. To the extent that this dirty drilling is allowed to continue, policymakers must require, among other things, that the oil and gas industry provide up front financial assurance commensurate with the potential for damage.
Fracking’s negative impacts on our environment and health come with heavy “dollars and cents” costs as well. In this report, we document those costs – ranging from cleaning up contaminated water to repairing ruined roads and beyond. Many of these costs are likely to be borne by the public, rather than the oil and gas industry. And as with the damage done by previous extractive booms, the public may experience these costs for decades to come.
Marcellus Shale gas drilling is expanding rapidly across Pennsylvania. And with it, drilling companies regularly continue to violate Pennsylvania’s cornerstone environmental laws – laws that aim to protect the Commonwealth’s natural heritage and the public’s health.