Oil and gas companies are fracking near our communities, polluting our air and water, and risking the health of our children and other vulnerable populations. Fracking often is done very close to vulnerable people – infants, school children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems – even though communities typically seek to keep industrial activities far away from facilities serving these populations, such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes and day care centers.
American solar energy is booming. Hundreds of thousands more Americans each year are experiencing the environmental and consumer benefits of clean energy from the sun, often generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business.
A growing number of states are leading America’s ongoing solar boom. Those states are not necessarily the ones with the most sunshine, but rather the ones that have opened the door for solar energy through the adoption of strong public policies. The 10 states with the most solar capacity per capita – Nevada, Hawaii, California, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey, Vermont, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Colorado – have a track record of strong public policies that are enabling increasing numbers of homeowners, businesses, communities and utilities to “go solar.”
America has made progress in cutting pollution from cars and trucks over the last decade as a result of improved vehicle fuel economy and slower growth in driving. But eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from our urban transportation systems is going to require more than incremental change – it will require transformation.
The combination of two technologies – hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – has enabled the oil and gas industry to engage in an effort to unlock oil and gas in underground rock formations across the United States. “Fracking,” however, has also led to tremendous environmental harm and put the health and safety of communities across the country at risk.
Since 2005, according to industry and state data, at least 137,000 fracking wells have been drilled or permitted in more than 20 states, but the scale of fracking’s impact on our environment can be difficult to grasp. This report quantifies some of the key environmental and public health-related impacts triggered by fracking during the technology’s decade-long spread across the country. To protect the public and our environment, states should take action to ban fracking, or, failing that, to ensure that oil and gas companies are held to the highest level of environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
America can address our largest environmental challenges by shifting to 100 percent renewable energy. Renewable energy makes us safer and healthier, protecting our communities from global warming and from hazardous air pollution. Renewable energy reduces the need for dangerous and destructive practices like shipping explosive fuels through our cities, fracking for gas near our water supplies, or razing our mountains to dig up dirty coal.
Environment New Mexico Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.