Fracking in the United States

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The United States is experiencing an energy boom due in large part to "fracking,” the technology also known as hydraulic fracturing, which has enabled the extraction of huge, previously untapped reservoirs of oil and natural gas. The benefits have been felt on many levels and include the revival of depressed economic areas, lower energy prices, increase in manufacturing, especially in the petrochemical and steel industries, and even reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The risks of fracking, which pumps large amounts of water mixed with chemicals and sand into shale formations, have been raised by environmentalists and focus on water table contamination and depletion, air pollution, methane leaks, earthquakes and landscape despoilment. Consequently some groups and communities are seeking to restrict or ban the process. According to media reports and a new study, most Americans say they do not know anything about fracking and are uncertain whether to support or oppose it.[1][2]

Fracking in the United States depends on available energy resources, the location of these resources, applicable laws and regulations, politics, and the power of environmental and industry groups. Decisions by policymakers and citizens, including state and local governments and ballot initiatives, affect if and how fracking occurs.

Well field in Odessa, Texas

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is the process of injecting fluid--mostly water and sand, but with additional chemicals--into the ground at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks and release the oil and natural gas inside.

Recent technological advances in oil and gas drilling--horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing--have created a wealth of opportunities and challenges for states with fossil fuel reserves that can be accessed through the combination of these two technologies. The increased use of fracking has been an economic boon for many states, not only those with fracking, but also those with supporting industries, such as frac sand mining or associated machinery manufacturing.

Opponents of fracking argue that the potential negative environmental and human health impacts could be significant. Although wells have been fracked for over 65 years in the United States, concerns have been raised about whether federal, state and local regulatory agencies can keep up with the recent rapid increase in fracking activity, and adequately protect the environment and human health. As with any type of energy extraction, either traditional or renewable, there are economic, environmental and political trade-offs.

For a full explanation of fracking see Fracking.
See "Energy policy in the United States" for a full explanation of policy across the country.
See "Energy use in the United States" for a full explanation of energy use across the country.

Fracking in brief

Advocates of drilling wells using fracking argue that there are numerous economic benefits of the technology, including:

  • Increased energy independence, which affects national security: the U.S. is expected to be a net natural gas exporter by 2020.[3]
  • Jobs: According to the former head of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, the energy boom may have been responsible for a quarter of the job growth since the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Economic growth and higher state tax revenues.
  • Lower trade deficit: In November 2013 the U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level in four years, due mostly to the impact of fracking.[4]

Opponents of drilling wells using fracking argue that there are known and potentially even unknown impacts to the environment and human health and that the practice should be regulated much more heavily, or banned outright, because of the following:

  • Air pollution: Oil and natural gas extraction can release VOCs, methane and other harmful contaminates.
  • Earthquakes: Links have been made between the disposal of fracking [eliminate] wastewater from produced wells and earthquakes.
  • Depletion of freshwater resources, spills and leaks of well flow back into water supplies, mismanaged produced water and flowback and stormwater pollution.
  • Human health risks.
  • Potentially large socioeconomic changes to small, often rural communities, such as increased traffic and population that are avoided by eliminating development.

By curtailing or eliminating drilling those opposed to fracking believe these risks would be mitigated or eliminated.

Current events


See also: BLM oil and gas permits by state

On March 20, 2015, the Obama administration released a new ruling that governs fracking on federal land. The rules have not been well received by oil and natural gas companies or environmental groups. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began drafting this rule after a November 2010 public forum. Federal lands can be leased by private mining companies, including oil and natural gas companies, for exploration and production under the BLM Oil and Gas Management program. As of June 2013, there were 47,427 oil and natural gas permits across 36,092,482 acres of federal land.[5] According to the BLM, fracking was used on almost 90 percent of the 2,800 wells drilled on federally-managed lands in 2013.[6][7]

Under these new rules, drillers that use fracking to access oil or natural gas must adhere to the following:[6]

  • Submit information to the BLM about the geology of the well, including the length and location of fractures and faults
  • Disclose the chemicals used while fracking (with exceptions for trade secrets)
  • Store flowback and other waste water in above ground tanks
  • New rules for well cementing, casing and integrity testing

According to the Secretary of U.S. Department of the Interior, Sally Jewell, "This updated and strengthened rule provides a framework of safeguards and disclosure protocols that will allow for the continued responsible development of our federal oil and gas resources."[8] Erik Milito, the director of industry operations for the nation's largest oil and natural gas trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, argued that the new "rule is just one more barrier to growth...a duplicative layer of new federal regulation [that] is unnecessary."[9][10]

The ruling goes into effect 90 days after the final version of the rule is published in the Federal Register. The final rule can be read here.[6]

Two groups, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance, filed suit almost immediately following the release of the new rule. "The lawsuit charges that the new regulations are based on 'unsubstantiated concerns' that lack any scientific basis." Twenty-seven Senate Republicans filed a bill that would block the regulations from taking effect.[7][11] As of May 18, 2015, four states had agreed to challenge the new rule in court: Colorado, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.[12]


On November 11, 2014, President Obama announced joint carbon emission reduction efforts with the President of China, Xi Jinping. China and the United States are the world's first and second largest emitters of carbon pollution, respectively. Efforts by these two countries to curb carbon emissions was "viewed as essential to concluding a new global accord" on climate change. Obama announced that the United States would cut its carbon emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025. This target doubled the pace at which the United States had promised to curb its emissions. Jinping, meanwhile, pledged that China would stop its emissions from growing by 2030, and that clean energy sources would account for 20 percent of his country's energy production by 2030.[13]

Even if both the United States and China meet the goals they set, the earth is still expected to warm by 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, at least according to one climate modeler, Chris Hope.[14]


See also: "History of fracking"

Fracking has become important to the oil and gas extraction process because it allows drillers access to oil and natural gas resources that were previously either unreachable, or economically infeasible to produce. The predecessor to modern day fracking, the "Exploding Torpedo," a method of fracturing the rock in a well to increase oil and gas extraction, was developed by Lieutenant Colonel Edward A. L. Roberts. Roberts, a Civil War veteran, patented his system on April 25, 1865. Using this method, Roberts was able to increase oil and gas extraction by as much as 1,200 percent. This method for fracking wells was used until 1990. Since then hydraulic fracturing has become the industry standard.[15][16]

The modern version of fracturing wells was used experimentally in Kansas in 1947, to extract natural gas from limestone. This technology was used commercially by Halliburton in 1949. Then, in 1970, downhole motors were developed, leading to the ability to drill wells horizontally. By the 1970s natural gas extraction began to decline and the oil crisis led both the Ford and Carter administrations to invest in oil and gas extraction technologies.

Oil derricks in Cleveland, OH, 1905

The process of fracking was "made possible by technological innovations resulting from a sustained partnership between the gas industry and the American federal government." The following specific programs are some of the most important that funded this research:

  • Eastern Gas Shales Project in the 1970s, which was a public-private partnership.
  • A partnership between the Gas Research Institute and the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee.
  • Technologies developed by the precursor to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Bureau of Mines and the precursor to the National Energy Technology Laboratory.
  • A production tax credit for unconventional gas that lasted from 1980-2002.
  • Cost-sharing projects including the first multi-fracture horizontal drilling in Wayne County, West Virginia in 1986 and another project in the Texas Barnett shale by Mitchell Energy in 1991.
  • Research by Sandia National Laboratory on microseismic imaging that was meant for use in coal mines.[17]


Energy production in the United States, 1949-2013
See Energy production in the United States for more information.

As of 2012 the United States had 11,884 million barrels of proven crude oil reserves and 110,351 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).[18][19][20][21] The United States has the 11th highest proven oil reserves; the fifth highest proven natural gas reserves; the world's largest coal reserves; and the fifth highest valued energy reserves, totaling $28.5 trillion dollars.[22] The chart to the left shows energy production by type, in the United States from 1949 to 2013, in quadrillion BTU. Across that same period natural gas had the steepest increase from 1950 through the early 1970s, when production more than quadrupled. Crude oil and natural gas plant liquids had generally been decreasing from the mid-1980s through 2008, after which production quickly rose.[23]

According to the Environment America Research & Policy Center, an environmental group, fracking was occurring in 17 states as of 2012. The table below lists these states as well as the number of wells the Environment America Research & Policy Center estimated had been fracked since 2005.[24]
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.

Economic impact

The use of fracking across the United States has had a huge economic impact on the country. Oil and natural gas extraction affects not only the oil and gas companies, but entire supply chains. The large oil and gas reserves that fracking has opened up have created many economic opportunities through capital investments, from both the U.S. and other countries, royalty and lease payments, increased government revenue, increased employment in the mining (oil and gas) sector, and supporting industries, such as the restaurant and housing sectors, lower natural gas prices (and potentially lower oil prices), pipeline building, machinery manufacturing and more. Because much of the activity in these areas is recent, there is not a wealth of data. Instead economists use forecasting models, such as IMPLAN and REMI, to predict the impact increased fossil fuel extraction is having on the economy. These studies usually measure both direct impacts, i.e. the jobs and income being added within the oil and gas industry, and indirect impacts, i.e. jobs created throughout the supply chain. These studies also include induced impact, i.e. jobs created through increased spending due to growth in the industry. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that more than 95 percent of all oil and gas wells are being fracked. As such much of the data below are from the oil and natural gas industry as a whole.[26][27]

The income of the average American household has increased by $1,200 a year due to cheaper oil and natural gas, according to the research firm IHS. By 2025 this increase is expected to almost triple to $3,500, as lower energy prices benefit consumers directly, through lower energy bills, and indirectly as manufactured goods become cheaper. Additionally, shale gas (natural gas from fracking) contributed $76.9 billion in GDP in 2010. This GDP growth is expected to increase further to $118 billion by 2015.[28]


The following table shows the predicted economic impact to the United States of oil and natural gas activity for 2012 from a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), a research consulting firm, for the American Petroleum Institute. The "Operational impacts" and "Capital investment impacts" include indirect and induced jobs. For more on these data see the Employment section below.[26]

Impact of oil and natural gas on the U.S. economy
Direct impacts Operational impacts Capital investment impacts Total impacts Percent of U.S. total
Employment 2,590,700 5,854,500 1,388,100 9,833,200 5.6%
Labor income (in billions) $203.6 $311.8 $82.8 $597.6 6.3%
Value added (in billions) $551.0 $522.5 $135.8 $1,209.4 8.0%

Taxes, fees and revenue

A rig worker in Williston, North Dakota

Unconventional oil and natural gas has resulted in almost $100 billion in tax revenue for federal, state and local governments. From 2012 to 2025 fracking is expected to generate $1.6 trillion tax dollars, across all levels of government.[29]



As of 2013 fracking supported 377,000 direct jobs in the United States and 2.1 million associated jobs. If the boom continues as expected this number is predicted to increase to 3.3 million associated jobs by 2020.[28]


The study mentioned above also found that in 2011 the oil and natural gas industry supported 9,833,200 jobs. Of these jobs 2,590,700 were supported through direct employment, 5,854,500 through indirect and induced employment in operations and 1,388,100 through capital investments. In total, their study found that the oil and natural gas industry accounted for 5.6 percent of total employment in the United States. Together these sectors accounted for $597.6 billion in labor income and $1,209.4 billion in value added in 2011. The top 15 states with the highest oil and gas direct employment are found in the table below.[26]
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.

Royalties, land sales and prices

The United States is one of the few countries where property owners can own the right to use and build on their land, surface rights, and the rights to the minerals located under their property, mineral rights. This system can benefit owners who do not want to use the mineral rights they have to a property so they can sell or lease these rights to an energy company.[30] The federal government doesn't collect data on oil and natural gas royalty and land sales on private land. A 2014 study attempted to estimate these figures and determined the following for 2012:

  • Royalty owners were paid $22 billion in for the rights to their minerals
  • Private minerals were worth $161 billion
  • The top four states with the largest royalties were Texas, California, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
  • 77 percent of onshore oil and natural gas revenue came from privately-owned minerals.[31]

The table below shows estimated private oil and gas revenues royalties for 2010 by state. All the data presented below are in millions of nominal, or historic, dollars.[32][33]

Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.

Environmental impact


As with any type of energy extraction, there are several areas of risk when it comes to air quality. In the case of fracking, these risks include air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and methane. Some environmental groups have raised concerns that methane could be leaked during the extraction process, resulting in unnecessary pollution.[34][35] Most of this pollution occurs during the well completion phase. Fracking operations can also emit known carcinogens, which have been linked with increased rates of cancer.[36]


With regard to carbon dioxide, when natural gas is used to generate electricity in power plants, it produces fewer carbon emissions than coal-fired power plants. According to a 2014 study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "as a result of the increased use of natural gas, CO2 emissions from U.S. fossil-fuel power plants were 23% lower in 2012 than they would have been” without the increase in natural gas use.[37] During the extraction process, however, methane is emitted, and methane actually traps 20 times more carbon dioxide than other greenhouse gases. Nevertheless, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), CO2 emissions in the United States dropped by 3.8 percent in 2012, due in large part to the "increased availability of natural gas, linked to the shale gas revolution."[38][37]

A 2014 report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found a decrease of 3.3 percent in overall greenhouse gas emissions and a 12 percent decrease in methane emissions from 2011 to 2012. Natural gas extraction is the second largest producer of methane, after cattle.[35][39]


Aeril view of oil and gas wells in the Raton basin

The central and eastern United States have been experiencing an increased number of earthquakes over the last few years, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the government agency responsible for such data. Studies from the USGS have not found fracking directly responsible for this increase in felt earthquakes; however, the USGS is looking into regulations that would use seismic data to determine thresholds dictating when and where fracking can occur.[40] There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that this growth in the number of earthquakes has been caused by the increased use of injection wells to dispose of fracking wastewater. While fracking has been rarely known to cause earthquakes, there is an established scientific link between earthquakes and the disposal of fluids in deep, underground injection wells. Once a well has been fracked, the water returned to the surface is called wastewater, and contains large amounts of salt and other contaminants.[41] Some of this water can be recycled, but that water which can't be recycled is often stored in injection wells. These injection wells are generally considered the safest and most cost-effective place for wastewater to be stored. Injection wells are located thousands of feet underground and are encased in cement. Multiple drilling wells often rely on one disposal well for wastewater storage. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates there are 144,000 of these wells across the United States receiving 2 billion gallons of frack fluid per day.[40][42]

Induced seismology, or man-made earthquakes, have been around for decades and can be caused by mining, damming rivers and injecting fluids into underground wells. Earthquakes are caused by injection wells when water pumped into underground wells causes the faults under the earth to slip. Even though scientists at the USGS have been able to cause earthquakes intentionally by carefully injecting liquid into the earth, the link between injection wells and earthquakes is not fully understood. One of the largest concerns for scientists and regulators is that they do not have the tools to predict whether wastewater will cause seismic activity. These concerns are compounded by the lack of knowledge about where faults are located across the central and eastern United States. The USGS is just beginning to map these areas in more detail in order to understand the seismic risks. As of June 2014, these earthquakes have typically been small, two or three in magnitude on the Richter scale, but at least one scientist has raised concerns that earthquakes could grow in intensity if old injection wells continue to be used for storage.[40][41]


When it comes to water protection and fracking there are four main areas of risk: the depletion of fresh water sources, spills and leaks of fracking fluid into water, mismanaged produced water and flowback, and stormwater pollution. Stormwater, flowback, produced water and wastewater can be harmful because they contain total dissolved solids and naturally occurring radioactive materials. Because of the recent rapid growth in fracking, there are still many uncertainties about the effects of fracking on water. There are studies that link fracking to groundwater contamination, but they remain controversial. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is releasing a report in spring 2015 on the potential impacts of fracking on drinking water, and is working on effective programs for managing these potential risks.[36][43]

One of the main criticisms of fracking is that the process uses a disproportionately large amount of water. Up to 10 million gallons of fresh water may be required to frack one well. A 2014 study from the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas found, however, that the amount of water used in a traditional well, versus a hydraulically fractured well, is not appreciably different. According to one of the researchers, Dr. Bridget Scanlon, "The water used to produce oil using hydraulic fracturing is similar to the water used in the U.S. to produce oil using conventional techniques." The only difference between the amount of water used during the two oil or gas production techniques, is when in the process water is used. The study was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.[44][45]

A 2014 study analyzed water well samples from both the Marcellus and Barnett Shales, located in Pennsylvania and Texas, respectively. Researchers found that higher than expected levels of hydrocarbon gases, including methane, had not been caused by fracking, or horizontal drilling, but by well integrity problems. Researchers gathered 113 samples from Pennsylvania and found seven instances of fugitive gas contamination, known as elevated hydrocarbon levels. In Texas, 20 wells were sampled and one instance of fugitive gas contamination was found. Of these eight cases, half were identified by the researchers as having likely been caused by poor well cementing. Three cases were associated with faulty casing, and the final well experienced underground well failure. According to one industry representative, well integrity failure is extremely rare, "occurring in a fraction of 1% of wells." This research, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, came on the heels of another peer-reviewed paper by Echelon Consulting; both of these studies concluded that methane found in wells above the Marcellus shale occurred naturally and was not the product of fracking.[46][47]


Because of the recent, rapid growth of fracking, little is known about the potential impacts to human health. Government agencies dealing with human health issues have raised concerns about some chemicals that can be released during the fracking process, including VOCs. The Centers for Disease Control are working with the EPA and federal, state and local agencies to better understand potential impacts.[48][49]

Socioeconomic impact

Fracking can also present challenges to communities. Increased oil and natural gas production happens in boom or bust cycles, and often these cycles disproportionately occur in rural communities. Large scale fracking booms can also lead to increases in crime, such as substance abuse, sex trade and domestic abuse. An influx of oil and gas workers also strains housing and traffic resources. This lack of housing can push oil and gas workers into so-called 'man camps,' which are "clusters of mobile homes, RVs, and trucks," or into hotels. A fracking boom also puts heavy traffic on roads, which can strain infrastructure, increase traffic accidents, and increase the likelihood of oil spills. Local governments respond by hiring more police, social workers, health care workers and emergency response personnel, thereby spending more of their budgets on roads and social programs. Currently, much of the tax revenue generated by the oil and gas industry goes to the federal and state government, not the local governments.[36]

Geographical areas of activity

Map of oil and natural gas well counts in the United States, 2010

The map to the right shows oil and gas well counts across the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Energy there are more than 4 million oil and gas related wells in the country, half of which have been fracked. Fracking accounts for more than 43 percent of oil and 67 percent of natural gas production in the United States. The DOE estimates that more than 95 percent of all oil and gas wells are being fracked.[50]

Fracking at the ballot box


See also: Notable 2014 local measures

Local measures

Approveda Denton, Texas (November 2014)
Approveda Athens, Ohio Issue 7 (November 2014)
Defeatedd Santa Barbara, California Measure P (November 2014)
Approveda San Benito County, California Measure J (November 2014)
Approveda Mendocino County, California Measure S (November 2014)
Defeatedd Gates Mills, Ohio Issue 51 (November 2014)
Defeatedd Youngstown, Ohio Issue 4 (November 2014)
Defeatedd Kent, Ohio Issue 21
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Niles "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Initiative (November 2014) Approveda
Defeatedd City of Loveland Two Year Fracking Suspension Initiative, Question 1 (June 2014)
Defeatedd Youngstown "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Charter Amendment (May 2014)
Defeatedd Johnson County Fracking Ban Referendum (March 2014)

Statewide measures

Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Colorado Fracking Ban Initiative (2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Michigan Fracking Ban Initiative (2014)



Approveda Question 300: City of Lafayette "Community Rights Act" Fracking Ban Amendment
Approveda Question 300: Broomfield Five Year Fracking Suspension
Approveda Question 2A: City of Fort Collins Five Year Fracking Suspension
Approveda Question 2H: City of Boulder Five Year Fracking Suspension

Federal departments and agencies

  • The U.S. Department of Energy is a United States executive department established in 1977. The department was formed to address energy challenges using scientific solutions.[51][52] The department is led by the current Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz. The department's mission is to "ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions."[52] The department works towards its mission through four areas: energy, science and innovation, nuclear safety and security, and management and operation excellence. The DOE has 27 offices under its jurisdiction, 21 national laboratories, four power marketing administrations, 10 field sites and also oversees the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the National Nuclear Security Administration.[52][53]
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a United States agency formed in 1970 "to protect human health and the environment."[54] The current Director of the EPA is Gina McCarthy, who was confirmed by the Senate on July 18, 2013.[55] The EPA was formed in 1970, deriving its duties from the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Atomic Energy Commission, Federal Radiation Council and the Council on Environmental Equality.[56] The EPA runs Energy Star, a voluntary program established in 1992, that works to help "businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency."[57]
  • The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is the agency under the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating "impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment." The administration was created in 1977 by the Department of Energy Organization Act. Under the EIA there are four offices: Energy Statistics, Energy Analytics, Communications and Resource and Technology Management.[58][59]
  • The U.S. Department of the Interior is a United States executive department established in 1849. The department was formed to protect and manage the nation's natural resources and cultural heritage.[60] The department is led by the current Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. The Department of the Interior oversees most of the land agencies that administer federal land across the United States, which includes managing energy development and land leasing, including off-shore energy development.[61]
    • The federal bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), oversees a significant portion of oil and gas activity in the western United States because it occurs on land it manages.[62]

Laws and regulations

  • The Clean Air Act (CAA) was passed by Congress in 1970. The act was then revised in 1977 and again in 1990. The Clean Air Act was created to clean up the smog that polluted many cities in the United States. The CAA authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create national standards to limit the amount of certain pollutants including ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.[63]
  • The Clean Water Act (CWA) was passed by Congress in 1972 and was a reorganization of the 1948 Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Under the CWA the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created wastewater standards and administered the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which made it illegal for anyone to discharge a pollutant into navigable waters without a permit from the EPA.[64]
  • The Safe Drinking Water Act was passed in 1974 with the goal of protecting public health by ensuring the quality of drinking water. The law affects groundwater wells, rivers, reservoirs, springs and lakes. The law required the EPA to set drinking water standards. The law is intended to protect water from many threats including: chemicals, pesticides, human and animal wastes, waste that has been injected underground, and naturally occurring materials that can be harmful. This law established the Underground Injection Control Program that regulates injection wells that are used for storing or disposing of fluids.[65]

Potential federal legislation

  • Senate 587 FRAC Act was sponsored by Bob Casey, Jr. (D) from Pennsylvania on March 15, 2011. A similar bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 1084 Hydraulic Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2011, and was sponsored by Diana DeGette (D) from Colorado also on March 15, 2011. The bill amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to remove the exemption for hydraulic fracturing from restrictions regarding the injection of fluids underground. The act would also require those participating in hydraulic fracturing to disclose the chemicals in frac fluid that are expected to be used during fracking, and those that are actually used. States would then have to make these chemicals available to the public. Chemicals and the ingredients in chemical compounds must be released when required for medical treatment.[66][67][68][69]

Major organizations

  • The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers began as the National Petroleum Association in 1902. The group stands for "American manufacturing and jobs; proven and reliable products for your life every day; economic and national security; and a commitment to serve our nation and the American people." According to the Center for Responsive Politics American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers spent $5,311,107 lobbying in 2013.[70][71][72]
  • The American Petroleum Institute (API) is the only national trade organization representing the oil and natural gas industry in the United States. API's mission is to "influence public policy in support of a strong, viable U.S. oil and natural gas industry essential to meet the energy needs of consumers in an efficient, environmentally responsible manner." The organization represents more than 550 companies ranging from pipeline operators, refiners, producers and oil and gas service and supply companies. API publishes research on economic impacts of the industry, toxicology testing and other industry trends. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, API contributed $439,315 to campaigns for the 2014 election cycle and spent $9,300,000 lobbying in 2013.[73][74][75][76]
  • The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a nonprofit created in 1970. Their mission is to "To safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends." It lists its current issues areas as global warming, clean energy, the world's oceans, defending wildlife and wild places, preventing pollution, clean water and sustainable communities. According to the Center for Responsive Politics the NRDC spent $179,509 on lobbying in 2014 and contributed $65,300 to campaigns from 2013 to 2014.[77][78][79]
  • The Sierra Club is a 501(c)(4) founded by conservationist John Muir in 1892. The Sierra Club's motto is "Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet." The Sierra Club claims the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act among some of its most important successes. According to the Center for Responsive Politics the Sierra Club contributed $516,370 to campaigns for the 2014 election cycle, spent $330,000 lobbying in 2013 and contributed $149,637 to outside spending in 2014.[80][81][82][83]

Energy consumption

The graph below shows energy consumption by energy type in the United States from 1949 to 2013 in quadrillion BTU. Petroleum and coal consumption have been decreasing since 2007 and 2009 respectively. This decrease has been mostly made up by an increase in the consumption of natural gas, corresponding with lower natural gas prices due to the increase in natural gas production because of technological advances in fracking and horizontal drilling.[23]

Energy consumption by source in the United States, 1949-2013

News items

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "United+States+fracking"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Fracking in the United States News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. Climate Central, "Americans Uninformed About Fracking Says New Study," accessed January 16, 2014
  2. Charles Davis and Katherine Hoffer, "Federalizing Energy? Agenda Change and the Politics of Fracking," accessed June 24, 2014
  3. American Enterprise Institute, "What's new on AEI" accessed June 24, 2014
  4. Motley Fool, "How Fracking Has Helped the U.S. Economy," March 30, 2014
  5. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, "Competitive Leasing," accessed October 23, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Federal Register, "43 CFR Part 3160, Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands," accessed March 21, 2015
  7. 7.0 7.1 Breitart, "Energy Producers Sue Obama Admin over New Fracking Regulations," March 21, 2015
  8. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, "Interior Department Releases Final Rule to Support Safe, Responsible Hydraulic Fracturing Activities on Public and Tribal Lands," March 20, 2015
  9. The New York Times, "Obama Administration Unveils Federal Fracking Regulations," March 20, 2015
  10. Scout, "Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands; oil and Gas," accessed March 21, 2015
  11. Politico, "Interior's new fracking rules get swift GOP backlash," March 19, 2015
  12. [ Desert News, "Advertise with usReport this ad Utah joins lawsuit over federal fracking rule," May 18, 2015]
  13. The New York Times, "U.S. and China Reach Climate Accord After Months of Talks," November 11, 2014
  14. Vox, The US and China just reached a major climate deal on cutting emissions," November 11, 2014
  15. American Oil and Gas History, "Shooters – A “Fracking” History," April 20, 2013 (dead link)
  16. Bob Puls, University of Oklahoma, "Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources," accessed March 12, 2014
  17. The Breakthrough Institute, "Where the Shale Gas Revolution Came From," May 2012
  18. U.S. Energy information Administration, "Petroleum & Other Liquids," accessed April 10, 2014
  19. Six thousand feet of gas equals about one barrel of oil, which equals about 19 gallons of gasoline.
  20. U.S. Geological Survey, "World level summary of petroleum estimates for undiscovered conventional petroleum and reserve growth for oil, gas, and natural gas liquids (NGL).," 2000," accessed April 23, 2014
  21. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Frequently Asked Questions," May 30, 2013, accessed March 18, 2014
  22. Business Insider, "The 17 Countries Sitting On The Most Valuable Energy Reserves," February 13, 2014
  23. 23.0 23.1 U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Energy Overview," May 2014
  24. Environment America Research & Policy Center, "Fracking by the Numbers," October 2013
  25. These data are only for wells that have been permitted for fracking.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 PricewaterhouseCooper LLP, "Economic Impacts of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry on the US Economy 2011," July 2013
  27. U.S. Department of Energy, "Natural Gas From Shale: Questions and Answers," accessed June 25, 2014
  28. 28.0 28.1 RTCC, "Fracking to boost US economy $2000 per household-report," September 10, 2013
  29. The Washington Times, "RAHN:How fracking has saved Obama," June 2, 2014
  30., “Mineral Rights,” accessed January 29, 2014
  31. This figure is only for the lower-48 states.
  32. The royalty income figures assume a 1/8th royalty rate.
  33. Social Science Research Network, "U.S. Private Oil and Natural Gas Royalties: Estimates and Policy Considerations," March 12, 2014
  34. University of Oklahoma, "Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources," accessed March 15, 2014
  35. 35.0 35.1 Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, "Written Testimony of Frances Beinecke," accessed March 2, 2014
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Stanford Law School Student Journals, "Local Government Fracking Regulations: A Colorado Case Study," January 2014
  37. 37.0 37.1 Cooperative Institute for Research Environmental Sciences,, "New study: U.S. power plant emissions down," January 9, 2014
  38. International Energy Agency, "Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map," June 10, 2013
  39. The Wall Street Journal, "Talk About Natural Gas: Cow Belches Top Methane List," February 26, 2014
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 U.S. Geological Survey, "Man-Made Earthquakes Update," January 17, 2014, accessed March 10, 2014
  41. 41.0 41.1 National Geographic, "Scientists Warn of Quake Risk From Fracking Operations," May 2, 2014
  42. National Public Radio, "How Oil and Gas Disposal Wells Can Cause Earthquakes," accessed June 2, 2014
  43. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Natural Gas Extraction - Hydraulic Fracturing," accessed March 10, 2014
  44. WOAI, "Research: Fracking Uses No More Water Than Traditional Oil Production," October 6, 2014
  45. Bureau of Economic Geology, "US Shale Reserves and Production Bureau Shale Gas Study," October 6, 2014
  46. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, "Noble gases identify the mechanisms of fugitive gas contamination in drinking-water wells overlying the Marcellus and Barnett Shales," September 15, 2014
  47. USA Today, "Study: Faulty gas wells, not fracking, pollute water," September 15, 2014
  48. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Garfield County," March 13, 2008, accessed March 10, 2014
  49. Centers for Disease Control, "Review of Federal Hydraulic Fracturing Research," April 26, 2013, accessed March 10, 2014
  50. U.S. Department of Energy, "Natural Gas From Shale: Questions and Answers," accessed June 25, 2014
  51. U.S. Department of Energy, "A Brief History of the Department of Energy," accessed June 12, 2014
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 U.S. Department of Energy, "Mission," accessed October 4, 2014
  53. U.S. Department of Energy, "Offices," accessed June 12, 2014
  54. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Our Mission and What We Do," accessed March 14, 2014
  55. Huffington Post, "Senate approves Obama-pick McCarthy to head EPA," July 18, 2013
  56. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Duties Transferred to EPA," accessed March 14, 2014
  57. Energy Star, "About Energy Star," accessed June 13, 2014
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  59. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "EIA Offices," accessed June 12, 2014
  60. U.S. Department of the Interior, "Strategic plan FY 2011-2016," accessed January 2, 2013
  61. U.S. Department of Energy, "Interior Organizational Chart," accessed June 12, 2014
  62. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, "Fracking on BLM Colorado Well Sites," accessed May 9, 2014
  63. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Clean Air Act Requirements and History,” accessed January 29, 2014
  64. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Summary of the Clean Water Act,” accessed January 29, 2014
  65. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)," accessed June 26, 2014
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  67., "S. 587 (112th): FRAC Act," accessed June 24, 2014
  68., "S. 587 (112th): FRAC Act," accessed June 24, 2014
  69., "S. 587 (112th): FRAC Act," accessed June 24, 2014
  70. American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, "Our History," accessed June 13, 2014
  71. Center for Responsive Politics, "American Fuel & Petrochem Manufacturers," accessed June 13, 2014
  72. Campaign finance totals are from May 19, 2014, lobby data are from April 28, 2014 and outside spending data are from June 13, 2014.
  73. American Petroleum Industry, "API Overview and Mission," accessed June 13, 2014
  74. American Petroleum Industry, "Industry Mission," accessed June 13, 2014
  75. Center for Responsive Politics, "American Petroleum Institute," June 13, 2014
  76. Campaign finance totals are from May 19, 2014, lobby data are from April 28, 2014 and outside spending data are from June 13, 2014.
  77. Center for Responsive Politics, "Environment," accessed June 13, 2014
  78. The National Resources Defense Council, "About Us," accessed June 13, 2014
  79. Campaign finance totals are from May 19, 2014, lobby data are from April 28, 2014 and outside spending data are from June 13, 2014.
  80. The Sierra Club, "About the Sierra Club," accessed June 13, 2014
  81. The Sierra Club, "Gift Planning: Supporting the Sierra Club Family," accessed June 13, 2014
  82. Center for Responsive Politics, "Sierra Club," accessed June 13, 2014
  83. Campaign finance totals are from May 19, 2014, lobby data are from April 28, 2014 and outside spending data are from June 13, 2014.