Issues

Fracking for Plastic

July 27, 2018 • EARTHWORKS
Oil and gas wells produce the chemicals needed to produce 99% of plastics. Nearly all U.S. shale wells are fracked, and in addition to oil and gas, they generally produce a very high volume of natural gas liquids, or NGLs,… More »
Issues

Waste Management Infrastructure

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
When wells are drilled and fracked, it’s not only oil and gas that are brought to the surface from deep underground—but also large volumes of waste. Estimates show that up to 1,200 gallons of wastewater can be created per day… More »
Issues

Wastewater Treatment Plants

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
Until the US Environmental Protection Agency adopted a new rule in 2016, the oil and gas industry was allowed to dispose of wastewater at municipal wastewater treatment plants. But because municipal plants aren’t capable of handling toxic and radioactive substances, wastewater can… More »
Issues

Waste pits and impoundments

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
Both liquid and solid wastes are stored at well sites in reserve or storage pits. Liquid wastes (as well as freshwater reserves for fracturing) may also be stored in giant impoundments that can hold millions of gallons. An investigation in… More »

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Issues

Toxics Release Inventory – Mining Industry Opposition

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
Under authority conveyed by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), in 1997 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required the mining industry to begin reporting its toxic releases in 1998. In 1998, the National Mining Association, the… More »
Barrick's Goldstrike tailings pond in Nevada, US. Photo: Ecoflight
Issues

Tailings

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
Tailings are Mine Waste Tailings are the waste materials left after the target mineral is extracted from ore. They consist of: Crushed rock Water Trace quantities of metals such as copper, mercury, cadmium, zinc, etc. Additives used in processing, such… More »
Issues

Surface Owner Protection Legislation

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
EQUALIZING THE IMBALANCE BETWEEN MINERAL AND SURFACE OWNERS: The Case for Surface Owner Protection Legislation At least 10 states have already enacted surface owner protection or damage compensation laws, and still have thriving oil and gas programs. Surface damages legislation… More »
Issues

The Halliburton Loophole

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
Despite the widespread use of the practice, and the risks hydraulic fracturing poses to human health and safe drinking water supplies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) does not regulate the injection of fracturing fluids under the Safe Drinking Water… More »
Issues

Surface spreading of drilling wastes

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
Many states allow “brine” (produced water) from conventional drilling operations to be spread on roads as a de-icer and dust suppressant. Brine can contain high levels of salt, chloride, and chemicals, which can pose risks to wildlife, vegetation, and drinking water. Some… More »
Issues

Underground Wastewater Injection Wells

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
Large volumes of oil and gas wastewater are ultimately disposed of in underground injection wells (UICs) through a federal program mandated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Most of the estimated 180,000 UIC wells nationwide that are designated for oil… More »
Issues

Toxics Release Inventory – What is it?

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
A tool for citizens to help protect themselves The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory (or TRI) gives citizens information about toxic releases in and around their communities. With this information citizens can encourage mining companies to reduce their… More »
Issues

Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 (SRHA)

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
The Stock-Raising Homestead Act of 1916 provided settlers 640 acres of public land—a full section or its equivalent—for ranching purposes. SRHA allows ranchers to homestead (i.e. privatize) lands originally deemed of no value except for livestock grazing and the growing… More »
Issues

Sources of Oil and Gas Air Pollution

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
A variety of air contaminants are emitted throughout the oil and gas development process, and these compounds are released from a number of sources: Condensate tanks Construction activity Dehydrators Engines Fugitive emissions Pits Vehicles Venting and Flaring Condensate tanks Some… More »
Issues

Pipelines

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
Pipelines carry oil, gas, wastes and related products to and from drilling, processing, and distribution areas under high pressure. There are four main types of pipelines: Gas pipelines Oil and hazardous liquid pipelines Gathering pipelines Distribution pipelines and alternatives to… More »
Issues

Submarine Tailings Disposal

December 11, 2017 • EARTHWORKS
Producing just one gold ring generates 20 tons of mine waste. So where does all this waste go? Much of the waste generated from mining comes during the extraction process, after the target mineral is separated from the ore. This… More »