Don't Frack Pennsylvania

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

News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Statement: PennEnvironment criticizes President Trump’s visit to pro-fracking Shale Insight conference

PITTSBURGH -- President Donald Trump spoke today in support of fracking and petrochemicals at the Shale Insight conference, a two-day event featuring regional fracking industry associations. This comes after a visit on Aug. 13, 2019 to the massive Royal Dutch Shell petrochemical plant being built in Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs, which will convert fracked gas into plastic.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

PA given “F” Grade for spending Volkswagen settlement money

[Harrisburg, PA] -- With “National Drive Electric Week” kicking off across the country, two non-profit organizations released new information grading Pennsylvania officials for the state’s track record allocating its portion of the Volkswagen settlement funds.

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Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Volkswagen Settlement State Scorecard

It has been about three years since Volkswagen settled with federal authorities for cheating emissions laws in hundreds of thousands of vehicles advertised as “clean diesel.”[1] The settlement included billions of dollars to buy back the offending vehicles from consumers, as well as nearly $3 billion for the Environmental Mitigation Trust, to be distributed to every state and territory where offending vehicles were sold.[2] The Environmental Mitigation Trust funds are designed to be used for transportation projects that reduce pollution in an effort to mitigate the harm done by Volkswagen t

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News Release

STATEMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AMERICA AND ITS STATE AFFILIATES IN PA, NJ, AND NY: SUPPORTING HISTORIC PROPOSAL TO PROTECT DELAWARE RIVER

[Philadelphia, PA] – Today the regional multi-state agency (the Delaware River Basin Commission, DRBC) charged with preserving and restoring the Delaware River, its tributaries and watershed made a historic announcement for protecting this important local waterway by proposing to ban the oil and gas drilling practice known as “fracking” within the Delaware River Basin.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center

New report: For frackers it pays to pollute

[Harrisburg]—A new analysis by PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center finds that while fracking companies continue to violate cornerstone environmental laws and public health protections, they rarely pay significant penalties for their violations.The new study showed that a median fine for fracking violations in Pennsylvania of just $5,263 with only 17% of violations receiving a fine.  

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