On April 2, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and FracTracker
Alliance reported that only 3 out of 36 states with active oil and gas
operations offer information to the public regarding spills and violations.
As one co-author of the report said, “People deserve to know what’s
happening in their own backyards, but too often homeowners aren’t
even informed if there’s a threat to their health.”
Most Common Violations & Worst Offenders
For the three states where violations are reported, the numbers were not
promising. In fact, the report showed that oil and gas drillers were coming
under fire for having an average of 2.5 violations per day.
Common mistakes they are making, per the report, include the following:
- Well Leaks
- Wastewater Spills
- Pipeline Ruptures
- Illegal Air Pollution
- Improper Well Casing
- Failure to Conduct Safety Tests
- Drinking Water Contamination
- Non-Working Blowout Preventers
According to the report, the 10 companies with the most violations included:
- Chesapeake Energy – 669 Violations
- Cabot Oil and Gas – 565 Violations
- Talisman Energy – 362 Violations
- Range Resources – 281 Violations
- EXCO Resources – 249 Violations
- ExxonMobil – 246 Violations
- EQT Corporation – 245 Violations
- Anadarko Petroleum Corporation – 235 Violations
- Shell – 223 Violations
- Penn Virginia Corporation – 186 Violations
Report Looks Into Three Energy-Intensive States
The study looked into fracking operators in three energy-intensive states
during the hydraulic fracturing boom: West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and
Colorado. From 2009 to 2013, approximately 4,600 citations were issued;
of these, about 4,000 were in Pennsylvania with 600 coming from the states
of West Virginia and Colorado combined. The state of Colorado had more
than 1,930 spills recorded, which are listed separately. It, however,
is argued that Colorado isn’t seeing an increase in spills, but
rather an increase in the reporting of spills.
Violations Based on Admin Problems
Unfortunately, because of the way violations are categorized, it is difficult
to tell if any of the issues are tied directly to fracking in specific.
Beyond that, infractions are not categorized; instead, examples are listed.
Due to this, some argue that many violations are just paperwork or administrative issues.