Photo by Tom Birt, Spill on Thoren Lease in Douglas County, Kansas, 2019.
Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities. “Fracking,” a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations, is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.
“No state has adequate protections in place. Even where there are rules, they are poorly monitored and enforced. Thanks to the multiple federal exemptions, we can’t even count on the federal government to keep us safe! Together, though, we can change that! No industry, no matter how wealthy or powerful, can withstand the righteous passion of the American people. The out-of-control rush to drill has put oil and gas industry profits ahead of our health, our families, our property, our communities, and our futures. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.”
—Allison Chin, Sierra Club president, July 28, 2012, at the Stop the Frack Attack rally
Cindy Hoedel is a national award-winning journalist and environmental advocate living in Matfield Green, Kansas. She began researching Class II injection wells when large-volume injections of toxic wastewater began causing earthquakes in Kansas in 2012. In 2018, her investigations led to the discovery that more than 2,000 injection wells in Kansas had been improperly permitted. The Sierra Club Kansas chapter commissed Hoedel to prepare this white paper.