Dear Congress: Please reform the laws for onshore oil and gas operations

Yesterday, more than 70 organizations from around the country, large and small, sent a letter to Congressional leadership asking for reform of the laws governing onshore oil and gas operations.

The letter states: "While any single onshore explosion, leak or spill is unlikely to match the extent of contamination currently occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, dangerous releases of toxic materials occur regularly onshore. Onshore oil and gas operations are unique; many of the facilities are located right in the middle of neighborhoods, often right in the backyards of families. Unlike any other industry that uses large volumes of toxic chemicals and produces immense amounts of toxic waste, onshore oil and gas production is allowed in areas zoned for residential use. Some toxic sites are located less than 200 feet from where children play."

The letter urges Congressional support for a package of reforms, stating:  "We need new environmental protections, better enforcement, and support for clean energy to reduce our dependence on dirty fossil fuels. We must immediately protect the most sensitive places and require better standards everywhere else." The letter can be found in NRDC's Document Bank.