Oil and Gas
Before an oil or gas company can conduct exploration or begin production activities, the NEPA process requires completion of a rigorous environmental review that incorporates the concerns of local communities.
Oil and gas production, including hydraulic fracking, utilize a variety of toxic chemicals mixed with water and result in the production of hazardous wastes that permeate the soil and water basin, threatening our public health.
Since 1995, more than 2,000 significant accidents involving oil and petroleum pipelines have occurred, resulting in nearly $3 billion in property damage and the destruction of countless ecosystems. In most cases, cleanup of pipeline spills is only partially successful, leaving tens of thousands of barrels of oil on our land or in our water.
We’re also in the midst of an oil and gas boom driven by fracking. “Fracking,” a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations, is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes.
With the oil and gas industry enjoying sweeping exemptions from many environmental laws, NEPA is one of the last remaining and most effective environmental protections still in place designed to protect human health and the environment.
Before an oil or gas company can conduct exploration or begin production activities, NEPA requires the completion of an environmental assessment to determine if a project is likely to have significant impacts on the environment. If the agency finds there will be a significant impact, it is then required to conduct the more stringent environmental impact statement (EIS) in order to meet the proper consideration and opportunity for public comment requirements.
NEPA also stopped the Keystone XL pipeline from construction in 2015 and continues to provide powerful legal support in defense of the Clean Power Plan – the EPA’s bold attempt to use the Clean Air Act to protect our health and the environment by regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants.
The NEPA review process is also one of the key legal defenses the Standing Rock Sioux have used to successfully fight the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The Standing Rock Sioux claim permitting process was rushed and undertaken largely without its input.
If the pipeline were to leak or burst, it would send oil deep into the Missouri River, the Standing Rock Sioux’s single source of water — water the group relies on for everything from bathing to drinking. For that reason, the Standing Rock Sioux say the Army Corps of Engineers environmental review violates both NEPA and the Clean Water Act.
DISCLAIMER: This pipeline tracker only tracks gas pipelines that were planned as of January 2016. It includes new gas pipelines and expansions of existing gas pipelines that are tracked by FERC and does not include gathering pipelines, spur lines, and other important elements of natural gas infrastructure. It also does not attempt to capture pipelines that are designed to transport other fossil fuel products such as crude oil, finished fuels, or liquefied natural gas. The data included in this tracker only represents the parameters of the individual project and not the pipeline system to which the project is connected.