Research

US fracking is an “environmental injustice with impacts not felt equally” – new analysis

Pregnant women, children, indigenous people, communities of colour and low-income neighbourhoods are disproportionately harmed by fracking, according to the latest review in the US of risks and damage.

Updated analysis published this week by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility, concluded:

“Emerging science shows that fracking is an environmental injustice, with injuries not borne equally by all.”

The findings are based on analysis of peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals, investigative journalism and reports by or for government agencies.

The compendium, now in its eighth edition and running to 577 pages, cited studies which found:

  • Well pads, pipelines and associated infrastructure in multiple US fracking regions were more likely to be in indigenous, non-white, or low-income communities
  • Induced seismicity in Oklahoma disproportionately affected communities with low incomes, female-headed and African-American households, workers employed in farming or extraction and Hispanic populations of employed men
  • Infant health problems, including birth defects, pre-term birth and low birth weight, were more likely in children born to women living near fracking operations

The researchers concluded:

“the vast body of scientific studies now published on hydraulic fracturing in the peer-reviewed scientific literature confirms that the climate and public health risks from fracking are real and the range of environmental harms wide.

“Our examination uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health directly or without imperiling climate stability upon which human health depends.”

It said studies indicated that US fracking was unpredictable with “innate engineering problems”. These included uncontrolled fracturing, induced earthquakes, well casing failures, radiation and methane releases, flaring and pathways for contamination via abandoned wells.

There were well-established links between US drilling, fracking and associated infrastructure and harms to health, the Compendium said. These included cancers, asthma, respiratory diseases, skin complaints, heart concerns, and mental health problems.

The authors said only a complete and comprehensive ban on fracking in the US could deal with the impacts of the process:

“The rapidly expanding body of evidence compiled here is massive, troubling, and cries out for decisive action. Across a wide range of parameters, the data continue to reveal a plethora of recurring problems that cannot be sufficiently averted through regulatory frameworks. The risks and harms of fracking are inherent in its operation.”

The compendium said fracking for oil and gas was “driving the current surge in global levels of methane”.

It said more than 100 studies showed that air pollution accompanied fracking, with more than 200 airborne chemical contaminants detected near drilling and fracking operations. Of these, 61 were classified as hazardous air pollutants with known health risks, it said.

The Compendium said the US oil and gas industry pumped more than two billion gallons of fluid underground each day to extract hydrocarbons or as waste disposal.

Demand for water in fracking operations in the US had more than doubled since 2016, the Compendium said, and more than 180 studies showed that fracking-related activities had depleted or contaminated water resources, including groundwater.

The authors said more than 17.6m US residents now lived within a mile of at least one active oil and gas well.

Fracking was now the standard method for oil and gas extraction in the US, they said. Up to 2022, an estimated one million wells have been fracked in the US and hydraulic fracturing now produced at least 79% of US gas and 65% of crude oil.

Link to the eighth edition of Compendium of scientific, medical, and media Findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking and associated gas and oil infrastructure.

30 replies »

  1. Wait for it! There will be those who reject such scientific consensus, persuasive though it is. We must ask ourselves,” why?”
    Thank you Ruth for keeping us in the picture.

  2. “We” have no need to ask “why”, 1720.

    “We” just need to see how Europe is having to rely upon US frackers to rid themselves of Russian gas reliance.

    What I would ask, is why there are those who through their nonsense would want to maintain that control?

    Shame on “them.” (Or those who try to imply there are more than one of them.)

    Meanwhile, I note there was news in the last few days of more investment intended to boost gas exports from USA further.

    Meanwhile, if there is such concern about US standards, then why not look at transferring production to a more local source with higher standards-such as the UK!

    Meanwhile, there is in the US the story about those responsible for devastating forest fires, and pay outs to avoid further prosecution. The source? Power cables! So, let’s ban electricity? Well, that would just about finish renewables so perhaps no one asking the “why” about that is to be understood.

    And, meanwhile, those who previously were talking about limiting US fracking, now they are in power, are threatening the business with being penalised if they do not increase their activities.

    So, looks to me as if some “we’s” are simply behind the times, if their motivation is not due to other factors. Perhaps the “we’s” including the well healed in New York, should look at the costs of energy production in countries elsewhere where routine and regular military force is required to maintain security of supply? Perhaps they have already forgotten Iraq?

    • Who are the “well healed in New York”? Are you now into quack medicine as well, Martin?
      There is a touch of cognitive dissonance in most of your recent postings/ diversionary tactics. I suppose you get round this by continuously asserting then denying a stance. Come to think of it, Rees Mogg tried this recently, declaring how we could get round some of the multiple disadvantages of the Brexit he had advocated, thus saving ourselves a lot of money. I suppose that if you affirm a stance often enough it assumes factual status.
      But don’t think we haven’t noticed.

      • Ermm, have you no idea about the remuneration of the medical profession in USA, 1720? Why has there been so much concern over decades around UK trained medical professionals being lured to USA by high salaries? OMG, the UK medical unions have carried out all those salary negotiations under false pretenses!

        I would suggest you stop adding “we” to your uneducated posts. I am not sure there are too many who would wish to be tarred with that brush. Maybe just be selective, and add the “we” to something others may be okay to be associated with?

        So, please tell me whether the “brain drain” of UK medical personnel to USA was all a myth. I know it was/is not, but once again facts escape you in order for you to make a point. Diversionary tactics from yourself, ignorance or just irrational exuberance? Or, your conversion to understanding what are facts, is still incomplete?

        • I think the best thing, Martin, we can do in response to your 8.01 post is to repeat my 7pm post which has simply provided you solely with an opportunity to embark upon yet another diversion from the issues we were “discussing”, to wit, elevation of your opinions into facts, your tendency to diversion, your now famed and notorious ability to hold two contradictory opinions. We do notice.

  3. Well, well, I wasn’t going to do a May Day Sunday “sermon” (I think thats funny), but since someone simply can’t contain their peace(!), (see previous subject post) even on a Sunday and a special May Day Sunday at that.

    Never mind, I found some very appropriate poetry this week, which goes straight to heart and the soul of everything that is happening across the world.

    This is from Tessa Lena, who has a poetic and formidable heart and soul and is able to very accurately express her thoughts and publish them. Search for “Tessa Makes Love” and “Tessa Fights Robots” if you want to read more. I’m sure she won’t mind me reproducing this one here:

    Tessa Lena – Against the Thievery: An impromptu prayer.
    https://tessa.substack.com/p/against-the-thievery?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo1MzYyNDk2LCJwb3N0X2lkIjo1MzEyNzI4MywiXyI6IjJkNmFqIiwiaWF0IjoxNjUxNDExMDM3LCJleHAiOjE2NTE0MTQ2MzcsImlzcyI6InB1Yi0xMDM1MCIsInN1YiI6InBvc3QtcmVhY3Rpb24ifQ.AAlYSZqUzurdPENMqqBQ3IIzz6J4q_xgB2kiDQlZP8c&s=r

    Tessa Lena: This story is words pouring out me without much thinking. This is how I feel, and hopefully it resonates.

    My soul wants respect, and I reject all thievery.

    I reject the admonishments by the unhealed to shape my life after their trauma.

    I reject the neglect.

    I reject the lies that I was told by the predators and by their victims.

    I reject the theft of dignity.

    I reject the theft of love.

    I reject the theft of enjoyable human relationships.

    I reject all the tricks, and I expel them completely, and all the pain they caused me.

    I have no more use for that pain, I let it go without attachment.

    I reject the theft of dignity.

    I reject the theft of dignity.

    I reject the theft of dignity.

    I reject the theft of respect for my love.

    I reject the theft of my free will.

    I reject the theft of my freedom to live on the time that my soul knows.

    I reject the hungry ghost of the mechanical clock.

    I reject all the lies.

    I reject all the lies.

    I reject all the lies.

    I pray for the healing of men who have been in a battle for too long and lost touch with their emotions because their beautiful, talented warrior spirits got stuck in the never-ending battle, and they forgot the path to peace.

    I pray for the healing of women who forgot the dignity and the significance of their gift to heal because so many people had neglected them or treated them like they were invisible.

    I pray for the healing of all the women who feel bled out from bending and folding themselves a thousand times over to accommodate the healing of the men, stuck in a battle. It is tiresome. I pray for the path to peace to be remembered and walked with joy!

    We need each other to heal, that is the law of life. Now is the time to heal.

    I pray for restoring the balance.

    I pray for restoring the balance.

    I pray for restoring the balance, so that we can live well.

    I pray for the healing.

    I pray for all of us, free people, to straighten out our spines and to remember who we are, with dignity.

    I pray for us to jump out of the trap and to draw our energy from the memory of being loved children (even if we need to go back and love ourselves all over because perhaps our childhood wasn’t perfect).

    I pray for a reconnection with our good ancestors so that they can guide us to become whole, for real, without pretense, whole like we were born to be.

    We always deserved to be loved children. All those lies, all that hurt, it was a mistake.

    The good thing is, mistakes can be fixed, and healing can be all-encompassing and complete.

    It was never right to steal from us.

    It was never right to steal our confidence and the importance of our spirits.

    It was never right to steal our connection to the Earth.

    It was never right to steal our dignity.

    It was never right to steal from us.

    It was never right to steal our importance.

    It was never right to look through us without seeing us.

    It was never right to intentionally or unintentionally abuse us.

    May we shake off all the pain, all the abuse, all the neglect!

    May we heal. May we heal the soonest! May we live well the soonest!

    We are love.

    I forgive myself for all of my past stumbling completely. I come from love, and my love is valid.

    I say so, and I ask my good ancestors to help.

    ——————————————————-
    Have a great May Day, Sunday afternoon.

    • Sorry you had to be corrected, PhilC regarding the Lords, but you were wrong. Simply wrong. I know that may come as a shock-well, to yourself anyway-but plonking out comments that are just incorrect may make a point but only distorts reality. I prefer reality over fake news.

      Trouble with painting yourself into a corner, it is quite acceptable to see a DIY novice do so, but when someone who proclaims their ability continuously, does the same, it is indeed worthy of note.

      Restating the obvious:

      Commons legislate. Lords advise amendments, as can the Commons. Commons will prevail if they have the numbers on any piece of legislation, as they are elected by the voters-so, that is democracy. For the Lords to prevail without the numbers in the Commons would require a rerun of the Civil War, or a change to the system with the Lords that they become elected by the voters. But, they are not here in the UK.

      So, to change legislation it then requires another go through the Commons where a party puts forward a wish to change it and have the numbers to do so, and ideally, having told the electorate they intend to do so. (Of course, legal challenge may lengthen or divert the process but not likely against a large majority.)

      Good luck with that. But, quietly.

      • I know this will come as a double shock, if not a triple shock. But sorry, I have to correct you on your fake news and false narratives again. Back in the Real World of truth again, old thing, all was already revealed to correct your disinformation and false narratives on the previous page subject. But apparently you don’t even read your own posts, let alone anyone else’s.

        Peers defeat government anti-protest laws: By Ruth Hayhurst on January 18, 2022.
        https://drillordrop.com/2022/01/18/peers-defeat-government-anti-protest-laws/

        That Priti much says it all.

        Also, sorry, but I have to correct you yet again for the nth time for avoiding the subject of this page, which is:

        US fracking is an “environmental injustice with impacts not felt equally” – new analysis
        By Ruth Hayhurst on April 29, 2022

        You can then scroll back to the posts I presented on the Permian Basin fracking pollution issues of deaths and poisoning health problems which you intend to import into this country. And many more before that post.

        Detailing the substantiated, verified and documented truth as reported by the British Medical Journal and many other reports on the 1 in 5 deaths per year from fossil fuel pollution worldwide.

        Then you can scroll down to the fossil fuel pollution causation of the 6th major extinction level event in the Earths’ history, causing 1 in 5 species of reptiles becoming closer to extinction worldwide.

        Then you can scroll down to the unprecedented acceleration of the fossil fuel pollution, causation of the present climate destruction.

        Then you can scroll down to the sudden rise in the deaths revealed by the Life Insurance industry due to non-covid deaths and the rise of 37.8% of death claims in the last three quarters of 2021.

        Then you can scroll down to all the rest and attempt to defend the fossil fuel industry from the consequences of their actions across the world.

        Clearly you can’t handle the facts. Fact. Then perhaps you might have to avoid the inconvenient truth and try to conceal all the fossil fuel pollution paint all over your shoes whilst hanging around in that wet corner facing the wall, away from the inconvenient truth? Oops!

        If you scroll down on this page, not too fast or too noisy, mind you. You will see some of the 30 or more inconvenient questions regarding death and destruction from fossil fuel pollution worldwide per year, that you have been avoiding for the last year and a half and are increasing by the day. And yet you still haven’t addressed any of them with to any degree whatsoever with any substantiated, verified or documented evidence.

        Good luck with that. But, quietly and don’t scroll too fast, because life is too short, according to some anyway. Not that it means anything other than excuses not to address the fossil fuel facts of life and death.

        Always a pleasure.

        • You can do what you like, 1720.

          I believe I made my point quite clear at 8.32 am, on the 1st May. Plenty of facts there, 1720, conveniently ignored by yourself who then came up with no facts at all. Since then, what have you posted of substance? Just a mish mash of “we” disagree, no substance whatsoever.

          “We” can repeat “my” post. Well, if that is what floats your boat. A need to hide within a group. That’s okay if it is a comfort to you.

        • Oh dear.

          So, what you are stating then Phil C is that the Government was defeated in the Lords, in respect of anti protest laws!

          Okay.

          So, there is no issue then regarding anti protest laws, the Lords has prevented that. Ruth is wasting her time. Next.

          What a load of nonsense. If you believe what is happening at half time is final then no need to stay for the second half then. Just DYOR in to how legislation is produced in UK. I have given you the facts but it is obvious that within your mind things have to be outside of reality, to allow you to try and excite others with similar laziness regarding doing their own research. [Edited by moderator] Your choice, but I would suggest rather disrespectful towards those who you feel could be excited by such fake news.

          {Edited by moderator] I will just repeat that across the world, in the fossil fuel age, life expectancy has increased dramatically. Fact. Currently, Europe is scrabbling around for supplies of fossil fuel, much from USA, to keep people enjoying that. Fact. When you have the solutions in place to take over, then feel free to moralise.[Edited by moderator] Your solution? Oh yes. A windfall tax on the N.Sea! OMG, let’s get rid of, on no, they are desperately required to subsidise that “cheap” renewable energy which is not cutting the mustard, and “we” have just been told will take another £150 billion on UK energy bills to get close. But, strangely, not reported from COP26, and strangely, would still have been required without the current conflict in Ukraine. And, oil and gas companies profits from 2021 can be taken in isolation, without even looking at 2020! All very illogical, and desperate, certainly not convincing.

    • Hi Iaith1720, I think it was the first four lines that drew my attention, since it reflects the subjects of this and the previous Drill or Drop posts only too accurately. The entire poem is so heartfelt and only too apt for these times, that I could not help but share it with those who appreciate truth spoken from the heart and soul:

      My soul wants respect, and I reject all thievery.

      I reject the admonishments by the unhealed to shape my life after their trauma.

      I reject the neglect.

      I reject the lies that I was told by the predators and by their victims.

      Enjoy the rest of the bank holiday weekend.

    • Fossil fuel pollution kills 1 in 5 people (and reptiles) per year worldwide, regardless of location. BMJ Fact.

      UK Fossil fuel exploration and extraction regulators have been constantly underfunded, understaffed and politically compromised to the point where they are just fossil fuel industry rubber stampers and are no more effective than in the USA. Fact.

      UK Fossil fuel operations are expected to “self regulate” in the absence of any effective regulatory bodies in the UK. Which is the equivalent of allowing the student to mark their own exam papers. Fact.

      People living adjacent to fracking operations, in the USA, are being poisoned by fracking fossil fuel pollution. That will be the same situation in the UK if fracking is allowed to continue against the present moratorium. Fact.

      There is a fracking moratorium in the UK due to earthquakes, precisely as experienced in the USA. Fact.

      Contaminated aquifers, streams and brooks in UK and USA, from waste water reinjection and illegal dumping. Fact.

      Radioactive pollution from fossil fuel operations are killing people worldwide. Fact.

      Fossil fuel pollution is destroying the ozone layer in the Earths’ stratosphere, which is allowing solar CME’s to reach the surface and causes massive fires worldwide from overcharged electric cable pylons. Fact. (from one of your own)

      Fossil fuel pollution has caused the 6th major extinction level event in the history of the Earth. Fact.

      Fossil fuel pollution has created the most unprecedented acceleration in climate change worldwide. Fact.

      Insurance companies have declared a rise in non covid death claims amounting to 37.8% in the last quarter of 2001. Fact.

      Fossil fuel corporations have made a killing on unearned profits before the war in Ukraine amounting to tens of $£billions, whilst the people are forced into energy poverty and real financial poverty worldwide due to 50% increases in fossil fuel energy. Fact.

      Have a nice bank holiday Monday, Sir Eli Goth, or whoever, or wherever you are.

        • Not a lot of point in you being here then, is it?

          Was that the summary paragraph of your own post “we”-lie-golf? Or your back-up buddies post? Unspecified. Lazy? Avoiding the subject? Your back-up-buddy doesn’t even read his own posts. Let alone anyone else’s?

          No wonder, life is too short. About 5 inches by all accounts. No ambition. If life is scrolled down too fast. It misses the exciting bits in-between. Don’t be too anxious to scroll down to the bottom line……it’s a dead stop…..never mind, it’s only life.

  4. The question, Martin, was why there are those who reject the consensus outlined in the article to the effect that fracking in the US has proved an environmental injustice with unequal impacts. Your response at 8.32am on May 1st., did not offer an answer, merely a list of tangentially related unattributed ‘facts’, opinions, stories, imprecations and suppositions, plus a few diversionary and amusing offerings concerning for example medicine in New York, (well-healed). Facts there were, but not entirely relevant. The following day, May 2nd., at 8.01, we were treated to another set of irrelevancies about the remuneration of medics in New York, the brain-drain, etc., which could only be considered relevant if you were trying to discredit the authors of the report referred to in the article.
    You then proceeded to answer my accusation of inconsistency, – I don’t/do believe X, and this is my opinion, therefore a fact, – by telling me that your posting referred to above was “full of facts, conveniently ignored” to which I did not respond with facts.
    I was not offering a factual justification of the DorD article, Martin. The facts were there and spoke for themselves. I did not wish to contest them. You apparently do.
    Has nobody told you, Martin, that if you wish to comment on a scientific consensus, or indeed on anything, it’s a good idea to reference this in your offering? It’s not a good idea to offer a hotchpotch of unrelated, diversionary facts. Otherwise, you will rightly be accused of irrelevance.
    Why are there those who reject the scientific consensus, Martin. Do you imagine yourself a latter-day Galileo? The ‘science’ was wrong in his day. Is it as likely to be wrong now, post-Enlightenment?
    Please show us how the Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility have erred in their analysis. Or do you think you’ve succeeded in discrediting them?

  5. See your post at the top, 1720!

    Shame you (we) fail to follow your own doctrine, but nothing new there.

    You have rejected scientific evidence also, 1720. I have referenced some of it previously that you have rejected.

    I have given my reasons for rejecting this one, 1720, but for some reason it has failed to appear. Sorry, you will have to guess, but 79% of gas and 65% of oil may have something to do with it..

  6. I take it, Martin, that you are referring to “Up to 2022, an estimated one million wells have been fracked in the US and hydraulic fracturing now produced at least 79% of US gas and 65% of crude oil.” This comes from the DorD report above.
    And this is your justification for rejecting ““Emerging science shows that fracking is an environmental injustice, with injuries not borne equally by all.”! This is the subject of the DorD report above.

    We really are in the realm of Alice in Wonderland.

  7. If UKOG get consent to drill Loxley, they will be doing so 275 m from the nearest dwelling and 400 m from the nearest Traveller family at Lydia Park and New Acres.

    In California the setback distance is now 3200 feet.

    https://sacramento.newsreview.com/2021/10/26/california-issues-rule-banning-new-oil-wells-within-3200-feet-of-homes-and-schools/

    What are the views of those in this debate, who are in favour UKOG’s proposal, about the health of people living nearby?

  8. You may be 1720, but you only post your own opinion. The “we’s” probably recognize that in USA there are pretty compelling concerns regarding injuries not borne equally by all, WITHOUT 79% of gas and 65% of oil. Cheap oil and gas in USA, compared to other parts of the world, have benefitted the least well off disproportionately for many years. And, you wish to curtail that? Nice one 1720! Just more of that collateral damage. Where is all the science around that? There is plenty, except it would not appear on DoD.

    So, over 1 million wells have been fracked in USA. Of that 1 million, the vast majority have created no issues apart from delivering oil and gas. Of the millions of cars produced in USA the majority have not killed anyone either, so to extract those that have and moan about cars without looking at their benefits is just more nonsense. Electricity kills people in USA every year, and those injuries are not borne equally. Does the science require electricity be banned? Farming the same. So, USA without oil, gas, cars, electricity and farming. Indeed, Alice.

    Nice try, 1720, but as usual you have followed without thinking, and become lost. If an analyses of an industry is to be credible it really does need to examine pros and cons, otherwise it just becomes a promotion or a hatchet job that is only useful to those interested in using it for either of those purposes. You obviously are within that audience, I am not.

    Meanwhile, 1720, you keep enjoying using the products of fossil fuel, as you have been supplied with nothing else! Perhaps the majority in USA feel just the same?

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