Gas Drilling’s Environmental Threat

Vast deposits of natural gas have brought a drilling boom across much of the country, but the technique being used, called hydraulic fracturing, is suspected of causing hundreds of cases of water contamination. Now environmentalists and lawmakers are pushing for closer oversight of the gas industry, which is pushing back.

Scientific Study Links Flammable Drinking Water to Fracking

For the first time, a peer-reviewed scientific study has linked natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing with a pattern of drinking water contamination so severe that some faucets can be lit on fire.

PA Oil and Gas Inspectors Free to Issue Violations Without Approval From Top, Enviro Chief Says

Officials say oil and gas inspectors do not need approval from DEP Secretary Michael Krancer to issue violations to companies drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale, contradicting earlier reports and leaked emails.

Response to Pa. Gas Well Accident Took 13 Hours Despite State Plan for Quick Action

A Texas emergency response team was flown in to deal with a recent Pennsylvania gas well accident, even though the state arranged last year for a local team to be available.

Natural Gas Drilling Is at a Crucial Turning Point

The natural gas industry must develop regulations that scale up drilling safely and learn from the mistakes made in the United States.

PA Senate Confirms Controversial Job Czar Nominee

C. Alan Walker, a former coal baron and prominent Republican donor, gained unanimous support to oversee the PA's Department of Community and Economic Development.

More Reasons to Question Whether Gas Is Cleaner Than Coal

Evidence continues to mount saying that natural gas is not be as clean as we like to think.

Pa.’s New Jobs Czar Fought Enviro Regs for Years

Pennsylvania's governor has asked C. Alan Walker to promote job growth by helping companies get the permits that they need. But Walker's personal business history raises a crucial question: How might an anti-regulation coal mogul affect the state's environmental regulations for the Marcellus Shale?

Deteriorating Oil and Gas Wells Threaten Drinking Water, Homes Across the Country

Oil, gas and tainted water can seep through abandoned gas and oil wells into drinking water sources and sometimes into septic systems. But most states don't have enough money to plug them.

Pennsylvania Limits Authority of Oil and Gas Inspectors

A leaked memo says oil and gas inspectors can no longer issue violations to drilling companies in the Marcellus Shale without first getting the approval of top officials.

PA Governor Gives Energy Executive Supreme Authority Over Environmental Permitting

Pennsylvania’s governor has appointed an energy industry executive to oversee the state’s job creation effort and wants to give him unusual authority to streamline state permits, including for gas drilling.

Former Bush EPA Official Says Fracking Exemption Went Too Far; Congress Should Revisit

Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the Environmental Protection Agency in the George W. Bush administration, ponders criticism leveled at a 2004 study on hydraulic fracturing and suggests that it's now time for Congress and the EPA to take another look at the practice.

Natural Gas Drilling Debate Heats Up: Read Our Guide

The possible dangers of gas drilling, including the process known as hydraulic fracturing, are drawing more attention from the media as gas drilling expands across the United States. Here’s a quick breakdown of the key issues, drawn from ProPublica’s reporting.

Hydrofracked? One Man's Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling

When the well water on Louis Meeks' ranch turned brown and oily, he suspected that the thousands of natural gas wells dotting the once-empty Wyoming landscape were somehow to blame. The hard part was proving it. Meeks' struggle to get the energy companies to take responsibility, meticulously documented through three years of investigative reporting by ProPublica's Abrahm Lustgarten, coincides with a national uproar over the oil and gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing. The technology, which is explored in the Oscar-nominated film "Gasland," promises to open large new energy supplies, perhaps at the expense of the nation's water.

John Hanger, PA's Former Environmental Chief, Talks About Challenges of Keeping Gas Drilling Safe

The former head of Pennsylvania's environmental agency defends his department, but says more work is needed to protect the state's natural resources from gas drilling.

EPA Wants to Look at Full Lifecycle of Fracking in New Study

An EPA study would be the most comprehensive investigation yet of whether hydraulic fracturing risks polluting drinking water near oil and gas wells across the nation.

Anatomy of a Gas Well: What Happened When a Well Was Drilled in a National Forest

A U.S. Forest Service report chronicles the damage done by a gas well in the Monongahela National Forest, deep in the mountains of West Virginia.

Many PA Gas Wells Go Unreported for Months

With Pennsylvania not enforcing reporting rules, regulators may lack details on some wells until months after they are drilled.

Drilling Industry Says Diesel Use Was Legal

After three members of Congress found that drilling companies used more than 32 million gallons of diesel fuel to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells between 2005 and 2009, the industry is fighting back, not by denying the accusation, but by arguing that the EPA never fully regulated the potentially environmentally dangerous practice in the first place.

Clearing the Air on ProPublica’s Drilling Pollution Story

ProPublica responds to a pro-drilling industry group that questioned the veracity of its story on greenhouse gas emissions from gas fields

In Symbolic Move, Philadelphia Calls for Gas Drilling Ban

Philadelphia officials recommended holding off on drilling in the watershed that provides the city’s drinking water until an EPA fracking study is finished. The city is the latest of several local governments to call for drilling bans.

Follow ProPublica

Latest Stories from ProPublica