INTERACTIVE MAP: Who is impacted most by overlooked pollution from America’s small oil and gas wells

A new EDF map is making it easier to access information about the communities across the country who are impacted by pollution from small oil and gas wells with leak-prone equipment.

There are over half a million wells across the country that are producing less than 15 barrels of oil and gas a day. But while they produce just 6% of the nation’s oil and gas, a new study reveals they are causing half of wellsite pollution nationwide.

Explore the map to learn more about your county.

This pollution has a very real impact on the climate and on the health of communities who live near these facilities. Not only do these facilities emit significant volumes of the potent greenhouse gas methane, they also leak other pollution that is toxic to human health and can severely deteriorate air quality.

Nearly 8 million people across the country live within half a mile of these well sites. A closer look at the data reveals that pollution from these wells has a disproportionate impact on many historically marginalized or vulnerable communities.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Who is impacted most by overlooked pollution from America’s small oil and gas wells Click To Tweet

For example:

  • In Loving County, Texas, 20% of the people who live within a half mile of a well are children under 5.
  • In Ohio’s Summit and Stark counties, nearly 50,000 of the people living near pollution are senior citizens.
  • In San Juan County, New Mexico, Native Americans make up 27% of those within a half mile of these facilities.
  • In Los Angeles, California – an area already struggling with air quality – nearly 300,000 people live among these leaky facilities.

WATCH: new footage shows massive pollution leaking from smaller, under regulated oil and gas sites. 

There are over 25 counties across the U.S. where over 80% of the population is practically living next door to one of these leaky well sites. California, Colorado and New Mexico have taken steps to require companies to get a handle on this outsized pollution from small wells, but we need strong federal rules that protect communities across the country.

Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed national oil and gas methane protections – but the standards put forward by the agency would omit many of these smaller wells with leak-prone equipment from regular inspection. We need President Biden to move forward with strong rules now and for EPA to step up, build on the example of states like Colorado and New Mexico, and address pollution from these sites in its final proposal.

We know these wells pollute at rates 6-12 times the national average and are owned overwhelmingly by companies with the resources to implement cost-effective solutions to stop needless pollution. In fact, 75% of these wells are owned by companies with over $300 million in annual revenue.

Download and share our infographic to learn more about communities impacted by this pollution

Reducing oil and gas emissions is one of the fastest, most affordable things we can do to address climate change while reducing air pollution, and the communities who live and work amid these facilities need EPA to ensure they enjoy a better, healthier quality of life and are not made to bear the brunt of this pollution.

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