More than a third of the Interior Department’s report on natural gas leasing and public land pollution from drilling and fracking was redacted or censored. In the latest installment of a series of reports from reporter Patrick Oppmann , click here to read more on this story.
As the Interior Department study that came out late last week on natural gas drilling and public lands made clear, almost every aspect of the report focused on the potential environmental effects of fracking and seismic activity on public lands, some of which can be reduced.
One area of significant concern for Interior is the risk to the underground water supply from releasing chemicals from wells. From the document:
“In searching for ways to reduce this risk, the FWS [forensic science service] is conducting, among other activities, a [formal] quality control analysis of the large number of studies that have been conducted ( and continue to be conducted) on potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and horizontal well targeting on drinking water. The resultant (and as yet incomplete) results are currently in draft form and will be made public following conclusion of the review process.”
More than a third of the Interior Department’s report on natural gas leasing and public land pollution from drilling and fracking was redacted or censored.
Safeguards and standards, such as those in the oil and gas field, are not written on the shoestring, and researchers have largely chosen to ignore the use of fracking, a process that involves injecting chemicals into the ground to release oil and gas.
In the extractive energy sector, a US Geological Survey study estimated that for every 20 wells that are fracked, around 90 gallons of fracking fluids are released into the environment.
About 85% of the oil and gas activity occurs on federal lands, and as much as 90% of that activity occurs on the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service.
In 2014, scientists predicted that the chemical spill risks could far exceed the 350,000 barrels of diesel currently used on federal and Forest Service land each year.
– Patrick Oppmann, CNN