The risks of oil and gas production acknowledged around the world

Government officials from around the world have recently declared that the risks of natural gas drilling are too great to allow it to proceed without additional analysis:

  • The Town Council of Bartonville, Texas, in the Barnett Shale, voted to impose a 90-day moratorium on new permits for natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in order to give the Council time to review the Town's regulations. They are particularly concerned about chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.
  • The Prime Minister of France ordered a national ban on shale oil and gas drilling until two separate government reports are published in June and there is more information available on the risks.
  • The government of Quebec halted all shale gas drilling after an expert committee found that scientific data regarding the impacts of shale gas development are partial or non-existent. Quebec will be conducting its own in-depth analysis.
  • The Maryland House of Delegates passed legislation that essentially halts any natiural gas drilling in the state until a two-year study on the risks is completed.
  • Regarding the risks, In the second draft of a Health Impact Assessment of natural gas operations in western Colorado, public health experts concluded that: "Battlement Mesa residents will most likely be affected by chemical exposures, accidents/emergencies resulting from industry operations, and stress-related community changes." The experts provide more than 70 specific recommendations to address the potential impacts.
  • And just yesterday, the City Council of Morgantown, West Virginia, passed a resolution demanding that acting Governor Tomblin convene a special legislative session to toughen regulations on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale field.

About the Authors

Amy Mall

Senior Policy Analyst, Land & Wildlife program

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