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According to a new NRDC analysis, at the end of 2011, 70 of the largest oil and gas companies operating in the United States held leases covering at least 141 million net acres of American land -- an area approximately the size of California and Florida combined. This is a minimum number of the acres leased nationwide because we only examined 70 out of hundreds of oil and gas producers in America.

And although many of these 141 million acres are already drilled, tens of millions of leased acres are not yet drilled, making them prime targets for drilling and fracking operations in the future.

How much development is yet to occur on lands under lease?

We don't know exactly because only some of the companies specified how many of the acres they have leased already have producing wells. Of those that did provide this statistic, 40 percent of their acres did not yet have any producing wells. Given the environmental history of the oil and gas industry, NRDC is extremely concerned about the risks to clean air, clean water, healthy communities, wildlands, and wildlife habitat that could come from this magnitude of development. New drilling brings new roads, traffic, spills, leaks, land disturbance, noise and more negative consequences to communities. The lands already drilled are currently at risk of serious air and water pollution, and those planned for future drilling face the same.

Additional findings from NRDC's analysis:

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