The oil and gas industry has grown dramatically over the last decade.
The advent of hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) has allowed oil and gas companies to access large stores of oil and gas that previously were locked in shale rock formations. This fracking-driven boom has resulted in two key types of impacts.
The climate-changing effects from the industry’s substantial releases of methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide, and the environmental and human-health effects of the industry’s releases of toxic chemicals and wastes to our air, rivers, drinking water, and land.
The price of this pollution weighs most heavily on rural, low-income, and minority communities in the form of increased exposure to toxic chemicals and related health risks such as cancer, neurological disease, and many other serious health complications. Further, there is a clear link between the volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide emissions released by oil and gas facilities and smog formation, the main culprit behind increased asthma in the young and elderly, associated hospitalizations, and missed days at school and work.
Oil and gas production, processing, refineries, and petrochemical plants are also some of the largest sources of industrial greenhouse gases in the nation, behind only coal-fired power plants. Tackling emissions from these industries is necessary if we are going to have any hope of averting a climate disaster and achieving the United States’ carbon dioxide emission reduction goals in the coming decades.
EIP strives to reduce toxic releases and greenhouse gas emissions from this industry through a mix of advocacy, regulatory work, and strategic litigation.
Stricter Standards and Tougher Enforcement
The oil and gas industry produces vast amounts of toxic air and water pollution and is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. EIP works to reduce these releases and protect communities by pushing federal and state authorities for tighter regulation of air pollution from oil and gas facilities and stronger controls of oil and gas wastes; investigating and bringing lawsuits against facilities for illegal releases to the air, rivers, and drinking water; and representing and working with neighbors to protect against unwanted, large-scale processing, distribution, and petrochemical plants that could destroy their community’s quality of life.
How Much Pollution: The Public’s Right To Know
The release of toxic air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry is notoriously undercounted and underreported. Industry’s lowballing of emissions undermines strict regulations and the public’s ability to understand their risk of exposure. EIP works tirelessly to improve how pollution is reported by this industry.
Oil & Gas Watch is a free, public inventory that tracks this rapid expansion of oil, gas, and petrochemical infrastructure throughout the United States. It maps the largest new and expanding oil, gas, and petrochemical infrastructure projects across the country and monitors each project’s construction status so the public can stay informed about major oil and gas developments being proposed in their communities. We track key environmental approvals companies must obtain before starting construction or operations and provide access to thousands of government records and permits unearthed by our analysts. This information provides a glimpse into how new and expanding facilities in these pollution-heavy industries could impact the environment and public health. The information in Oil & Gas Watch comes from public sources like government records, news articles, and corporate filings and disclosures.
Community Engagement: Giving Citizens a Voice
EIP works on the ground with grass roots organizations and communities to raise awareness about the health and environmental impacts of the oil and gas industry and to provide citizens with the tools they need to participate fully in the public process when it comes to oil and gas expansion projects. EIP’s Pennsylvania Outreach Coordinator, Lisa Graves-Marcucci, meets with local residents and educates them about what they can do to protect their rights and quality of life. We also work on empowering citizens in Texas, Louisiana, and Baltimore through our targeted reports on pollution, enforcement work, and community monitoring projects.
- The Human Cost of Energy Production: EIP teamed up with the International League of Conservation Photographers to help the public understand the harm the fracking boom is causing to families in Western Pennsylvania and Maryland. The photo storytelling project viscerally portrays the impacts on generations’ old farming communities through the lenses of nationally-known photographers Karen Kasmausaki and Garth Lenz.
- Pennsylvania Citizens’ Toolkit: EIP has developed the “Pennsylvania Citizens’ Toolkit” to help citizens, advocacy groups, and elected officials become better informed about expanding oil and gas operations and the permitting approval process. The toolkit guides citizens through the basic components of the process, while providing information about how to be more engaged and prepared to fight back.
- Advocate’s Guide for Challenging LNG Projects: This guide is for advocates who want to challenge the construction of LNG export terminals. LNG terminals are some of the largest pollution sources built in the US today. They are also among the more complex facility types to challenge because of the number of agencies involved and overlapping laws with which they must comply.