The oil and gas industry is rapidly expanding production across America as new technology makes it easier to extract oil or gas from previously inaccessible sites. Over the past decade, the industry has drilled hundreds of thousands of new wells across more than 30 states. These wells are accompanied by massive new infrastructure to move, process, and deliver oil and gas, together resulting in full-scale industrialization of communities and previously rural landscapes.
This expansion has been spurred by the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which dangerous chemicals are mixed with large quantities of water and sand and injected underground into wells at extremely high pressure to release oil and gas. Fracking companies enjoy exemptions from important provisions of the nation’s bedrock federal environmental laws that other industries must follow, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and federal hazardous waste laws. At the same time, states have failed to sufficiently fill in the gaps in protections. As a result, unconventional oil and gas development using advanced fracking methods is jeopardizing the quality of our air, water, and land across the country