EARTHWORKS

New research: States don’t enforce oil and gas regulations

September 25, 2012

350.org * Clean Air Council * Clean Water Action * Food & Water Watch *
Oil Change International * Sierra Club

Newly uncovered enforcement data shows more than half of all wells go uninspected, financial penalties total less than the value of one well


Full report

September 25th, Washington, D.C. – Today Earthworks released Breaking All the Rules: The Crisis in Oil & Gas Regulatory Enforcement, a new research study revealing that states across the country are failing to enforce their own oil and gas development regulations. The one-year, in-depth research project examined enforcement data and practices in Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, New York, New Mexico and Colorado and included interviews with ex-industry and state agency employees.

"State enforcement of oil and gas rules is broken," said Earthworks' Senior Staff Attorney Bruce Baizel. He continued, "Across the country, public health and safety are at risk because states are failing to uphold the rule of law. Until states can guarantee they are adequately enforcing their own rules on an ongoing basis, state agencies must not permit new drilling."

Failure to enforce oil and gas regulations means that states are not seeking, documenting, sanctioning, deterring, and cleaning up problems associated with irresponsible oil and gas operations such as chemical spills, equipment failure, accidents, and discharges into drinking water supplies

Among the study’s findings –


Executive summary

"I left my home in DISH because gas development threatened my family's health", said Calvin Tillman, former mayor of DISH, Texas. He continued, "That's because Texas oil and gas regulators are ill-equipped and unmotivated to enforce their own rules. This report shows that rules and regs aren't worth the paper they're written on if they're not enforced."

Drawn from both the data analysis and the stakeholder interviews, the report makes numerous common sense policy and regulatory recommendations to address the enforcement crisis, including --

"It's critical that people everywhere be protected from the public health and environmental dangers associated with fracking," said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. "The fact that states are failing to enforce their own laws reinforces the fact that fracking isn't safe—even when regulated. That's why the federal government needs to ban this dangerous, toxic process."

“This report shows that the industry’s claim that ‘oil and gas development doesn’t threaten public health’ is a fraud,” said Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill.  She continued, “Until common sense changes are implemented, states must refuse to issue new drilling permits. ”


For more information:

enforcement.earthworksaction.org

Tagged with: violations, transparency, regulations, penalties, inspections, fracking, fines, enforcement, drilling

On Twitter

"@EPAoig to Senator @JimInhofe: Sorry, yes, we will be looking into #fracking & water safety" | @coindependent bit.ly/1uB1Kf6
Wonder what they're afraid of? @EPAoig refuses Republican demand to stop investigation of @EPA #fracking regulation bit.ly/1pxVL9v

On Facebook