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2.9 Million Children Are Threatened by Toxic Air Pollution From Oil & Gas Development

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The Oil & Gas Threat Map

A new analysis of state and federal data shows 2.9 million children enrolled in schools and daycares across the country are threatened by oil and gas air pollution. Released by the national environmental group Earthworks, this new analysis is part of a larger update to The Oil & Gas Threat Map, a map-based suite of tools designed to inform and mobilize Americans about the health risks from the oil and gas industry's toxic air pollution.

The Obama-era U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior Department issued rules to limit this type of oil and gas pollution. The Trump administration is now trying to block and revoke these rules before they go into effect.


"My two sons are among the millions of children who go to school near oil and gas operations that threatens their health and safety," said Patrice Tomcik, National Oil and Gas program coordinator with Moms Clean Air Force, from Southwest Pennsylvania. She continued, "Children are especially vulnerable to these threats, including cancer, respiratory illness, fetal defects, blood disorders and neurological problems. With so many children living, playing and learning in close proximity to oil and gas production, it is unconscionable that our federal government wants to stall and revoke safeguards that protect our children from this industrial pollution. Moms want to see these vital safeguards implemented, not ignored."

The Oil & Gas Threat Map maps the nation's 1.3 million active oil and gas wells, compressors and processors. Using peer-reviewed research into the health impacts attributed to oil and gas air pollution, the map conservatively draws a 1/2 mile health threat radius around each facility. Within that total area are:

  • 2,944,785 students attending 9,102 schools, colleges and day care facilities;
  • 12.5 million people living in their homes including
  • 3,035,508 children under 18
  • 1,756,398 senior citizens 65 and over;
  • 2,292 medical facilities; and
  • all encompassed by the 187,413 square miles—an area larger than California—that lay within 1/2 mile of 1,292,669 oil and gas production facilities.

The searchable map also allows users to:

  • Look up any street address to see if it lies within the health threat radius;
  • View infrared videos which makes visible the normally invisible pollution at hundreds of the mapped facilities; and
  • View interviews with people impacted by this pollution.

"The Trump administration has at least 2.9 million reasons to support stronger safeguards against toxic oil and gas air pollution," said Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel. She continued, "Instead, EPA Administrator Pruitt and Interior Secretary Zinke are hell bent on eliminating them altogether."

Peer-reviewed science indicates that living within a 1/2 mile of these production facilities is clearly correlated with negative health impacts including cancer, respiratory illness, fetal defects, blood disorders and neurological problems.

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