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fracking

Drilling in the Uinta Basin near the town of Ouray.

The people living in the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah are the unwitting participants in a massive scientific experiment.  What happens when you put more than 11,000 oil and gas wells in a geologic basin and then seal off the air for days or weeks on end?  And the initial results are alarming—smog pollution that exceeds the federal standard set to protect public health by a whopping 89 percent.

The fireball that followed the derailment and explosion of two trains, one carrying Bakken crude oil, on December 30, 2013, outside Casselton, N.D.

Forty-seven people, including a four-year-old child, died in July 2013 when a train carrying crude oil derailed in Lac Mégantic, Quebec. Sixty-three tank cars derailed and of these, 59 punctured or ripped open and spilled oil, which ignited, exploded and destroyed the downtown. This catastrophe awoke the public to a 4,000 percent increase in the amount of crude oil shipped by rail and the incredible dangers posed by these crude oil trains to communities. 

A new crack in a foundation in proximity to Inglewood Oil Field, CA

Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma aren't known for earthquakes, but that’s changing thanks to hydraulic fracking. Fracking-triggered earthquakes may become stronger and more frequent as the wastewater is injected underground, according to new research. Enormous amounts of wastewater are produced from the fracking process, and underground injection of wastewater is the most commonly used disposal technique. Each time a new well is fracked, the stakes grow higher.

Helen Holden Slottje, a winner of the 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize.

In 2010, Helen Holden Slottje, a lawyer in upstate New York pioneered a legal strategy to keep fracking out of communities using local zoning laws. She and her husband David spent the next four years going from town to town, sharing what they’d learned. Today, more than 170 communities in New York have fracking bans or moratoriums on the books.

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