A Hot Fracking Mess: How the Lack of Regulation of Oil and Gas Production Leads to Radioactive Waste in Our Water, Air, and Communities

Credit: River Jordan for NRDC

Oil and gas extraction activities, including fracking, drilling, and production, can release radioactive materials that endanger workers, nearby communities, and the environment. The United States has known about these dangers for at least 30 years, ever since an EPA report revealed the health risks of unregulated radioactive oil and gas waste. Since then, additional research has confirmed those findings. Yet, even as oil and gas exploration and production have boomed across the United States, the country continues to lack any specific federal regulations governing the handling and disposal of radioactive waste and materials generated from these activities, leaving Americans reliant on spotty and loophole-ridden state oversight.

To protect public health and communities from the dangers of radiation, Congress must close federal gaps, states should enact their own comprehensive regulations, and the oil and gas industry must provide worker and community protections.

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