4 Ways Fracking Companies Break the Rules

February 21, 2015 Updated: July 18, 2015

The Environment New York Research and Policy Center released a report on Feb. 19 detailing oil and gas industry violations in Pennsylvania.

According to the report, fracking companies operating in Pennsylvania break the rules on nearly a daily basis. Since 2011, thousands of oil and gas regulations have been violated, posing great risks to people and the environment.

Exxon-Mobil and Shell are among the most frequent violators according to the report. But, Shell is one of four other violators who promised to adopt higher standards when it formed the Center for Sustainable Shale Development in 2013.

The center is a nonprofit organization created by strategic partners from the oil and gas industry, environmental organizations, and philanthropic foundations. It touts a “commitment to continuous improvement to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development of our abundant shale resources,” according to its website

The other three companies who according to the report are violating regulations—but  have signed on with the Center for Sustainable Shale Development—are Chevron Appalachia, EQT Corporation, and CONSOL. Some of the violations reported include:

  1. Allowing toxic chemicals to flow off drilling sites and into local soil and water.
Pumpjacks operate at the Kern River Oil Field, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Bakersfield, Calif. California regulators authorized oil companies more than 2,500 times to inject wastewater and other production-related fluids into federally protected aquifers potentially suitable for drinking and watering crops in the nations agricultural center, state records show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Pumpjacks operate at the Kern River Oil Field in Bakersfield, Calif., on Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
  1. Endangering drinking water through improper well construction.
  1. Dumping industrial waste into local waterways.
Unexpected toxics are surfacing with fracking fluid at drilling sites in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, researchers say. Treatment plants, never designed to handle the mess, are sending the pollutants straight to the region's waterways. Above, fracking waste storage tanks in Colorado. (William Ellsworth/USGS)
Fracking waste storage tanks in Colorado. (William Ellsworth/USGS)
  1. Otherwise disposing of waste improperly.