Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is an intensive industrial process used to extract oil and gas, and typically involves millions of gallons of water mixed with dangerous chemicals. The result: toxic waste, air pollution, thousands of truck trips, excessive noise and other impacts to humans and wildlife. Too often, this dirty industrial process is -- literally -- in the backyards of families across America.
People deserve to know if a company interested in fracking or already fracking on their property or in their communities is jeopardizing public health and safety, the environment, or their quality of life. Public access to this information is particularly important in this context because, unlike other industries, oil and gas wells and associated infrastructure and equipment are widespread and often operate in the middle of residential, rural, and agricultural areas.
Sadly, in most of the United States, neither state nor federal agencies are providing information on violations in a transparent, easily accessible, or comprehensive way. Corporations aren't providing this information either.
States need robust compliance programs with sufficient resources as well as strong enforcement practices, in order to vigorously identify and document all violations. Violations don't include acts that are currently legal due to weak laws or special loopholes for the oil and gas industry.