Keep Pennsylvania Safe From Fracking

We all know of the extensive legacy of pollution that coal mining has left for Pennsylvania’s forests, rivers and streams. Now, fracking is raising the stakes and leaving another long-standing legacy of environmental degradation and destruction in its wake.

Fracking is contaminating drinking water, making nearby families sick with air pollution, and turning forest acres into industrial zones. Yet the oil and gas industry is pushing to expand this dirty drilling — even near critical drinking water supplies for millions of Americans.

Credit: Sam Malone

Broken laws and contaminated water

The industry is saying “trust us.” Yet our research has found that fracking companies are committing violations of our environmental laws with little consequence.

  • Between 2008 and 2016, fracking companies committed a combined total of 4,351 violations.
  • During that time, only 17 percent of fracking violations resulted in a fine—with a median fine of only $5,263.

This has to change.

Will state officials protect us from fracking?

Fracking is booming in Pennsylvania, with more than 7,788 active wells—and the consequences for our environment and our health have been dire. And the gas industry tells us to expect tens of thousands more wells to be drilled in coming years.

Will state officials keep allowing companies to threaten our water, our forests and our air with toxic drilling? Or will they enforce commonsense safeguards already in place to protect our health and environment?

Powerful lobbyists for the fracking industry are fighting to stop meaningful protections. But with your support, we can continue to produce hard-hitting research, educate the public about the threats, and win real results to keep our health and environment safe from fracking.

Fracking is threatening our environment and health

As fracking booms across the nation, it is creating a staggering array of threats to our environment and health:

Our drinking water

There are already more than 1,000 documented cases of water contamination from fracking operations — from toxic wastewater, well blowouts, chemical spills and more. Moreover, fracking uses millions of gallons of water.

Yet the oil and gas industry wants to bring fracking to places like the Delaware River Basin, which provides drinking water for 15 million people, and Otero Mesa, which hosts the largest untapped aquifer in parched New Mexico.

Credit: B. Mark Schmerling

Our forests and parks

Our national parks and national forests are the core of America’s natural heritage. Yet federal officials are considering leases for fracking on the outskirts of Mesa Verde National Monument, along the migration corridor for Grand Teton’s pronghorn antelope, and right inside several of our national forests.

Along with air and water pollution, fracking would degrade these beautiful places with wellpads, waste pits, compressors, pipelines, noisy machinery and thousands of truck trips.

Credit: National Energy Technology Laboratory

Our health 

Families living on the frontlines of fracking have suffered nausea, headaches, rashes, dizziness and other illnesses. Some doctors are calling these reported incidents "the tip of the iceberg."

We must act now to stop the damage of dirty drilling

We’ve released reports exposing the thousands of environmental violations committed by drilling companies, and demonstrating how gas wells could threaten our state parks and forests, our health, and our most vulnerable residents like the young and old.

We believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a fracking company dumps its waste into our water, and we bet nearly all Pennsylvanians agree.

We need to demonstrate to our leaders that the public is really, truly concerned about this and is willing to take action in large numbers. If we do this, we are confident that Gov. Wolf will stand up to defend Pennsylvania from fracking’s threat to our health and environment.

Credit: Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Issue updates

Headline

Drill And Ditch? Report Outlines State's Shortcomings to Protect Oil, Gas Leaseholders

In the event of fracking or drilling damages, Pennsylvanians and their communities may not be adequately covered financially when -- or if --  the bill comes, a new report says.

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Headline

Report Shows PA Fracking Requirements Inadequate

study released Tuesday by an environmental activist group shows Pennsylvania’s bonding practices are inadequate to cover the cost and range of damage from drilling and fracking activities.

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Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Who Pays the Cost of Fracking?

"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.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center

Filmmaker Josh Fox, Local Groups, Bring New Fracking Documentary GASLAND 2 to Pittsburgh

Josh Fox, director of the 2011 Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland, joined grassroots groups, environmental organizations, medical experts, and residents affected by gas drilling activities to discuss the dangers of drilling and to introduce Fox’s new documentary film, Gasland 2, prior to the nationwide July 8 premiere on HBO.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

100,000 Signatures for a Moratorium on Fracking Delivered to Gov. Tom Corbett

With public concern about serious harms caused by the gas drilling process known as fracking continuing to rise, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center and a coalition of public health, community and environmental groups delivered more than 100,000 petitions to the state Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett today. The petition calls for a moratorium on gas drilling in Pennsylvania until our environment and public health can be protected. 

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