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Putting the Law to Work in Our Communities

A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Protection and Justice in Georgia, USA.

The development of extensive environmental regulation over the last three decades has afforded many Americans a sense of security, a  security born of the belief that environmental laws will effectively protect them from toxic chemicals and pollutants.

This is a legal paper that looks at the impact that natural gas drilling has on various towns in the USA and what can be done within an US legal context. Although written for the US many good points are included that may be used within an EU legal context. Written in 2009 it is still a very good resource.

Download the paper in the attachment section below in PDF format

The extraction of shale gas--natural gas found in deep layers of shale rock formations--is on the rise in many states. Gas drilling companies will likely drill tens of thousands of wells by 2020. The Obama administration's Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future identifies shale gas reserves as an important new energy source as the U.S. transitions from its heavy reliance on oil to a "clean energy future."

Land, water, and air are affected by the Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction process. However, the level of impact on all three vital resources can be alleviated by responsible decision-making of companies, governments, and individuals. All Pennsylvanians can be part of promoting responsible decisions through advocating for carefully written leases, enforceable state and federal regulations, and on-going monitoring.

This paper provides estimates of the effects of in utero exposure to contaminated drinking water on fetal health.

Natural gas has emerged as an increasingly attractive source of energy since it is highly efficient, abundant, and cleaner than any other fossil fuel. In this paper, we examine the impact of widespread adoption of natural gas as a source of fuel on infant mortality in Turkey, using variation across provinces and over time in the intensity of natural gas utilization.

Depending on where and how it’s done, natural gas drilling does have the potential to impact Pennsylvania’s waterways, an independent study reveals.

A growing body of work using varying analytical approaches is yielding estimates of methane emissions from the natural gas supply chain. For shorthand, the resulting emission estimates can be broadly described as top-down or bottom-up. Top-down estimates are determined from measured atmospheric methane enhancements at regional or larger scales.

Report date: July 2015. The exploration of unconventional shale energy reserves and the extensive use of hydraulic fracturing during well stimulation have raised concerns about the potential effects of unconventional oil and gas extraction (UOG) on the environment.

The Camden Gas Project, operated by AGL Upstream Investments Pty Limited (AGL), is a coal seam gas (CSG) project located to the south of Camden, NSW. The project currently comprises the Rosalind Park Gas Plant (RPGP), 144 coal seam gas wells, and interconnecting gas gathering lines.

Report date: June 2015. The U.S. Congress urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are transforming energy production, but their potential environmental effects remain controversial.

Limited direct measurements of criteria pollutants emissions and precursors, as well as natural gas constituents, from Marcellus shale gas development activities contribute to uncertainty about their atmospheric impact.

Report date: April 2015. New techniques of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) are now used to unlock oil and gas from rocks with very low permeability. Some members of the public protest against HVHF due to fears that associated compounds could migrate into aquifers.

Report date: April 2015. This assessment provides a review and synthesis of available scientific literature and data to assess the potential for hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas to impact the quality or quantity of drinking water resources, and identifies factors affecting the frequency or severity of any potential impacts.

Sep 2014. Methane in water bores is a major concern in areas of coal seam gas (CSG) development. There are risks associated with ignition and asphyxiation in closed spaces around bores that create real concern. There are also other risks, such as gas lock in pumps, colour and odour impacts from water quality changes, toxicity due to other gases and build up of gases affecting the integrity of the bores.

An interesting report about the faces that lobbying has in the USA. Published by the Public Accountability Initiative.

Lobbying Shale Gas in Europe


Cracks in the Facade

25 Years Ago (1987), EPA Linked “Fracking” to Water Contamination. Fractures can extend for 2500 ft and frequently to 1000ft, and can spread to neighbouring wells.

14 leading US fracking companies used over 2,500 products. More than 650 contain chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, are regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act or listed as hazardous air pollutants.

This report outlines over 60 instances of water contamination & fugitive methane migration from gas drilling operations caused by the failure to contain well pressure, faulty production casing or accidental drilling into other abandoned or producing gas wells.

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