Is having oil and gas development nearby bad for your health? In this story, we’re going to dig into what is known and what is unknown about these dangers and why those unknowns still exist, as more and more wells are drilled. We’re going to meet different people with different perspectives, who are all gathering data or studying it. They’re looking for answers and living with unknowns.
While the head of the EPA goes on a tour of 25 states, the agency is rolling back a host of environmental regulations — including trying to delay implementation of Obama-era methane rules at oil and gas wells. Some residents and environmental groups are taking action, concerned that methane leaks lead to poor air quality.
For weeks this spring, students and teachers at the school in tiny Midwest, Wyoming reported strange smells and headaches. Then, in May, the school shut down after health officials detected dangerous levels of potentially toxic gases. But for months, no one could answer the questions: What were the gases? And how did they get into the school?
If you believe a natural gas or oil operation near your house is making you sick – maybe you were breathing in dust from trucks, or losing sleep due to round-the-clock drilling – how would you voice your concerns? Could you be sure someone was actually listening? Would you know if others shared your health concerns? The answers to those questions vary widely state to state: In Colorado, state health or staff of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission respond to complaints and log them in a public database. In North Dakota, your complaint will be logged and addressed, but the database isn’t public.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting