Feds Fail to Inspect 4 Out of 10 Risky Oil, Gas Wells

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Common Dreams

Feds Fail to Inspect 4 Out of 10 Risky Oil, Gas Wells

AP review of federal data shows that fracking wells that could pose higher pollution threats lack oversight

Highlighting potential threats to wildlife, water and the environment, a new analysis by the Associated Press has revealed that four in 10 "high risk" oil and gas wells fail to receive federal inspection.

AP describes these wells on federal and Indian land as being "near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks."

The blame for the lack of oversight stems from the Bureau of Land Management being inundated with the surge in number of fracking wells, according to AP's review of the data.

Dennis Willis, a former BLM employee, told the news agency, "It's a disaster waiting to happen."

Of the 3,486 high risk wells on federal land, 1,400 did not receive a federal inspection, with the highest percentage of those—45 percent—located in Wyoming, AP found.

An analysis issued last month from the Government Accountability Office on BLM well data found that federal regulators failed to inspect nearly 57 percent of the high risk wells, but the AP reports that the dataset it reviewed was "more extensive" and also eliminated duplicated well information that led to the higher percentage in the GAO analysis.

"Until BLM has the best possible protections in place, can inspect existing wells, and ensures clean-up of all damage from current development, it shouldn't be allowing new fracking on public lands," writes Amy Mall, Senior Policy Analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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