After Colorado’s devastating Gold King Mine spill, federal lawmakers have launched a series of initiatives to clean up mine pollution around the country. They’re looking for guidance from one state with loads of experience cleaning up dirty mines—Pennsylvania.
In the seven years since Marcellus Shale gas companies began working in Pennsylvania’s state forests, none of the nearly 1,700 affected acres has been fully restored and put back the way it was before drilling began. Now state foresters and Penn State scientists are trying to plan for the future and help gas companies figure out the best ways to clean up after themselves.
For the first time, a study has found evidence of chemicals used in fracking natural gas wells in groundwater supplies. The contamination likely occurred before Pennsylvania strengthened its regulations around oil and gas drilling.
Even though Wyoming has been the top coal-producing state since 1988 and its coal culture runs deep, the image of the Appalachian coal miner persists in American popular culture. Why? Perhaps because most coal miners still work in Appalachia, even though most coal comes from Wyoming. In 2012, for example, Wyoming produced about 40% of U.S. coal but employed only 8% of coal miners.
Despite a drop in oil prices, oil and gas companies are still producing more oil than existing pipelines can carry. As the industry tries to build new pipelines, small communities are turning to new — and risky — tactics to keep their land.
A University of Alberta assistant professor wanted to make public information about oil and gas wells easier to find and use. So he started a project to collect drilling data from state agencies, gather it together in an easy-to-search database, and invite the public to add notes, observations and anecdotes.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting