Our Research and Reports
Oil & Gas
The Oil and Gas Reclamation Bonding Amounts matrix lists the bonding requirements for 11 states and the federal government. Reclamation bonds are intended to ensure that the companies, not taxpayers, pay for well recovery. Bond amounts, however, are often too low to cover the damages from drilling. This is especially true with blanket bonds. A blanket bond sets an amount to reclaim, theoretically, all of an operator's wells within a state or across the country. Reclamation crisis Oil and gas bonding is problematic because of the boom and bust nature of the industry. States like Wyoming face a reclamation crisis…
Surging oil production in shale hot spots, like the Bakken in North Dakota and Eagle Ford in Texas, has increased waste of natural gas through flaring, venting, and leaking. WORC’s report, The Flaring Boom, examines the causes and effects of flaring, venting, and leaking of natural gas by examining efforts to curtail these wasteful practices in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. (more…)
No Time to Waste examines standards and disposal practices around radioactive oil and gas waste in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. It finds that state governments in each of these states fail to protect citizens and the environment from a hazardous and quickly growing waste stream. The report calls for federal rules for radioactive oil and gas waste and stronger state standards.
Gone for Good: Fracking and Water Loss in the West reports on how the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming let the oil and gas industry drain irreplaceable groundwater resources and remove these resources from the hydrological cycle. his water loss threatens the future of other industries, agriculture, and the families who live near oil and gas development. The report found that oil and gas extraction practices are permanently removing at least seven billion gallons of water from the hydrologic cycle each year in just four arid western states. The reason for the huge loss of water is that states…
Watered Down is the second of a series of reports on the impact of oil and gas extraction on water. Gone for Good, the first report, outlined where the oil and gas industry gets the massive quantities of water used for hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” It also identified how state governments track water use (when they do), and how much is actually consumed without the possibility of reuse any time soon. Almost all water used for fracking is consumed and cannot be reused, as it turns out.
The 2013 update of Law and Order in the Oil and Gas Fields analyzes state inspection of oil operations data from five oil-producing states—Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming. The report called attention to the need for state and the federal governments to fund more oil and gas inspectors and increase penalties for violating public health, safety and environmental laws. Report Findings The findings include: Growth in the number of oil and gas wells continues to outpace increases in the number of state inspectors. In Colorado, each inspector is responsible for more than 5,000 active oil and gas…
Natural gas, or methane, is a cleaner burning fossil fuel, the demand for which is on the upswing in the United States. But there are negative impacts from the extraction, production and distribution of natural gas, especially in rural areas. Coalbed Methane Development: Boon or Bane for Rural Residents examines the impacts of one form of natural gas development, commonly called coalbed methane.
Filling The Gaps contends oil and gas companies should pay to cleanup their oil and gas operations, not taxpayers and landowners. To guarantee responsible behavior, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and state agencies should require companies to post a full damage deposit – financial assurance – as a security against possible problems, along with reclamation plans detailing how a site will be restored. Unfortunately, the amounts of this financial assurance required fall grossly short of potential cleanup costs.
Law and Order in the Oil and Gas Fields updates a look at how state and federal oil and gas agencies fail to keep up with the rise in oil and gas drilling. With new data showing that state and federal oil and gas agencies are not keeping up with the rise in oil and gas drilling, members of WORC are calling attention to the need for state and the federal governments to fund more inspectors and increase penalties for violating public health, safety and environmental laws.