The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
As the start of summer draws ever closer, Americans and international tourists will begin to flock to U.S. national parks, forests and other public lands for summer vacations, recreation and appreciation of our natural heritage. But there is something threatening the future of these lands and the communities that surround our national parks. Fracking.
President Obama’s Bureau of Land Management finalized thin, new rules for regulating fracking on public lands back in March. When these rules were proposed in 2013, more than 650,000 public comments were delivered demanding an outright ban on the practice instead. By the end of 2014, oil and gas companies had leases on more than 34 million acres of U.S. public land. More than 200 million more acres—about a third of all federal land—can be targeted with drilling and fracking.
Here are a few more key statistics taken from Food & Water Watch’s new fact sheet that was released yesterday:
- About 20 percent of U.S. oil and gas reserves and resources are beneath federal public lands;
- In 2014, companies drilled 2,544 new onshore oil and gas wells on federal land;
- Almost 90 percent of wells on federal lands are fracked, and regulators are inspecting less than half of the wells they identify as having high-risk of environmental impacts;
- More than 2 billion gallons of water—about 3,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth — is mixed with chemicals and injected beneath public lands each year;
- Likely about 100,000 gallons—or more than 18 truckloads full, assuming 130-barrel tanks—of liquid wastes spilled onto public lands each year;
- Production of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (e.g., propane, butane, etc.) in 2013 from federal public lands led to more than 292 million tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions, or about what 61 million cars emit in a year; and
- Counties with larger amounts of federal lands protected from oil and gas extraction had significantly higher per capita incomes, with about $1,000 extra in each person’s pocket for every 25,000 acres protected.
The figures on public lands and fracking are alarming, but there is hope to protect these cherished places and to stop the climate pollution from such extraction from happening. On Earth Day, U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), members of the Safe Climate Caucus, introduced the Protect Our Public Lands Act, H.R. 1902. The legislation is the strongest anti-fracking bill introduced in Congress to date and would ban fracking on federal public lands.
Tell your member of Congress to cosponsor the Protect Our Public Lands Act, and stand up for our beloved national treasures.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dan Gray
- Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
- A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
- It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.
New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.
By Jeff Turrentine
Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?