Map: Public Lands Threatened by Fracking

America's public lands are our national treasures, but that hasn't stopped the oil and gas industry from fracking in national forests and around national parks.

The map below shows oil and gas formations where fracking could occur (or is already occurring), and where they overlap with our public lands. To protect these precious places from fracking, we need to permanently ban fracking on federal lands.

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Key: Fracking and public lands

Sources: Esri, National Atlas of the United States, United State Energy Information Administration and the United States Geological Survey

 

 

 

About 20 percent of all potential U.S. oil and gas lies beneath public lands, and corporations are eager to extract it for profit. Already, fracking companies have leased over 34 million acres of public land (an area seven times the size of New Jersey), but that is just the beginning — over 200 million more acres that overlay oil and gas deposits could be fracked in the future.

In March 2015, the Bureau of Land Management released new regulations for fracking on public lands, but these rules do not protect these lands, adjacent national parks or nearby communities from the harmful effects of fracking. Take action to ban fracking on public lands:

What does fracking on public lands mean for the places we love?

Here are thirteen examples from among the iconic national parks and forests that are most at risk, and how fracking could harm them — or how it already has. You can help protect these beloved places by taking action to ban fracking on public lands.

Allegheny National Forest •  Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Parks •  Chaco Culture National Historical Park •  Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve •  Finger Lakes National Forest •  George Washington National Forest •  Glacier National Park •  Los Padres National Forest •  Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks •  Shawnee National Forest

1. Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania

Allegheny National Forest - Wish you were here to stop frack

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Pennsylvania is already suffering from the effects of fracking, and its Allegheny National Forest, located in the northwestern portion of the state, is threatened too. The Marcellus Shale, which runs under parts of the 517,000-acre Allegheny National Forest, is one of the largest known shale gas reserves in the continental United States.

Outrageously, in September 2013 a court ruled that the U.S. National Forest Service can't ban or even regulate drilling and fracking in the Allegheny National Forest. Drilling and fracking threatens the pristine land and water of Pennsylvania's only national forest, and the water of the Allegheny Reservoir.

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2 and 3. Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Arches and Canyonlands National Parks - Threatened by Fracking

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Cayonlands National Park is home to beautiful, largely undisturbed geological features that have formed over the last 22 million years, including a prehistoric lake, fossilized wood and the remnants of a Pueblo house with ancient rock art. However, its water and land are threatened by oil and gas activities on surrounding federal lands. The park already suffers from visible air pollution, which nearby drilling and fracking could worsen.

Arches National Park has a stunning collection of over 2,000 natural stone arches, some spanning over 300 feet in length – the greatest density of natural arches in the world. These unforgettable formations are the results of wind finely carving the rock over millions of years.

These parks lie near or above two basins targeted by fracking companies: the Paradox Basin, which covers much of southern Utah and Colorado, and the Piceance Basin, which covers 7,225 square miles in northeastern Utah. Additionally, these lands sit in the Green River and Colorado River watersheds, which provide water for much of the Southwestern United States, including Southern California. Fracking puts the safety of that water in jeopardy.

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4 and 5. Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades National Park - Save the Everglades from Fracking

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Big Cypress and the Everglades are treasures unlike any others in the country. Located on the southern tip of the continental U.S., the Everglades are home to many rare species such as the Florida panther, American Alligator and Leatherback Turtle. The subtropical park’s dynamic landscape includes remarkably diverse habitats, from hardwood hammocks and pinelands to mangroves and beaches.

There is already oil drilling and acidizing in nearby Big Cypress, which could impact the Everglades National Park. Acidizing uses hydrofluoric and/or hydrochloric acids to dissolve shale rock, and like fracking, uses high-pressure injections to access and enable the trapped oil or gas to flow to the well. The fragile ecosystem of America’s Everglades is now at risk.

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6. Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico

Chaco Canyon - National Treasure Threatened by Fracking

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The Chaco Culture National Historical Park, surrounding Chaco Canyon, preserves the epicenter of civilization for the Hopi, Navajo and Pueblo peoples throughout the American Southwest. From 800-1200 AD, the Chaco civilization built impressive communities that included massive multi-story stone houses and water control devices. Many of the ancient buildings and artifacts survive to this day. The park is also an UNESCO World Heritage site and an International Dark Sky Park, which many people visit to stargaze in the same nighttime darkness experienced by the Chacoan people.

Chaco is at the southern edge of federal lands targeted for drilling and fracking in the San Juan Basin. Despite opposition from local communities and environmental organizations, two companies have begun drilling wells. Continued drilling and fracking will contribute greatly to the deterioration of the extremely fragile ruins as well as disrupt the natural darkness that so many come to the park to enjoy.

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7. Finger Lakes National Forest, New York

Finger Lakes National Forest - Keep Fracking Out

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The beautiful 16,000-acre Finger Lakes National Forest sits between the Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. The only National Forest in New York State, Finger Lakes boasts pastures and woodlands alongside gorges and ravines which make it a popular place to hike, boat and horseback ride, and it is home to diverse plants and wildlife.

Finger Lakes National Forest sits atop the Marcellus and Utica Shale, making it a prime target for fracking, which can cause serious damage to air quality and threatens the nearby lake water. The Finger Lakes lie within the Oswego River Watershed, which drains into Lake Ontario, a major drinking water source for about 11 million people.

Right now, there is a moratorium on fracking in New York, but many residents are concerned about the repercussions if it is lifted. Residents of the town of Covert, where the national forest is located, say they would rather focus on developing the region’s tourism industry instead of fracking… but if fracking comes to the Finger Lakes, it could destroy the pristine landscapes and tourism would suffer.

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8. George Washington National Forest, Virginia

George Washington National Forest - too beautiful to frack

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Covering the wide expanse of the Appalachian mountain ridge in Virginia, the George Washington National Forest is home to many trails that lead to scenic mountain views among hardwood and pine forests as well as thousands of miles of streams and hundreds of species of birds and mammals.

Fracking the Marcellus Shale in the George Washington National Forest could pollute the water in the tributaries that feed the Potomac River, which provides drinking water for the five million people and is Washington DC’s only source for water. The Potomac River is already in trouble: a 2012 report by American Rivers ranked the Potomac as the nation’s most endangered river. Drilling and fracking would only worsen an already dire situation.

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9. Glacier National Park, Montana

I love Glacier National Park without fracking

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Dubbed as “The Backbone of the World” and the “Shining Mountains” by local Native American nations, Glacier National Park holds more than a million acres of forests, rough glacial valleys and wide alpine meadows among soaring mountains reaching over 8,000 feet high. The glaciers also provide the headwaters for numerous rivers and streams, and have created over 200 lakes in the park.

Glacier National Park is near drilling and fracking operations targeting the Montana Thrust Belt in the Upper Missouri River watershed. Further fracking of this area could contaminate the water that serves a third of Montana’s population, half of its agricultural irrigation and half of its recreational fishing.

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10. Los Padres National Forest, California

Los Padres National Forest - Save it from fracking

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Along the California coast, Los Padres National Forest is a sprawling, majestic park enjoyed by Californians from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. Many passersby get to experience this park’s beautiful vistas from the winding Jacinto Reyes National Scenic Byway, or Highway 33. From the Big Sur Coast to the semi-arid deserts in the interior, Los Padres’ many habitats make a home for wildlife, a variety of sensitive plant species and one endangered plant.

Fracking in Los Padres will not only damage numerous species and ecosystems, but could also pollute the local watersheds, putting drinking water at risk. In addition to water contamination, the Santa Ynez basin is already suffering from drought, which will only get worse if its water is used for fracking. It takes millions of gallons of water to frack a single shale well.

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11 and 12. Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon National Park, California

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks - stop fracking

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Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park lie east of California’s Central Valley. They not only contain the tallest point in the lower 48 states – Mount Whitney at 14,494 feet – but also some of the giant sequoias which are among the largest trees in the world, along with over 200 marble caves with unique rock formations that stretch below the surface.

Oil and gas companies are already fracking and acidizing in the San Joaquin Valley to the west of the parks, posing a serious risk to their landscape, air and three aquifer systems: the Central Valley, the Antelope Valley and the Mojave River Basin.

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13. Shawnee National Forest, Illinois

Visit Shawnee National Forest... before fracking starts

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The Shawnee National Forest, one of Illinois’ largest public lands, stretches across the Ozark and Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois over 280,000 acres of bluffs, open land, forests and miles of trails among the Mississippi and Ohio River watersheds.

Parts of the park lie over the New Albany Shale Basin, which will soon be opened up to drilling and fracking, threatening the local ecosystems, tourism and water that people and wildlife rely on. Fracking in Shawnee could pollute the Ohio River, which provides the drinking water for more than five million people and is a major tributary of the Mississippi River.

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The best way to save our parks?
Take action!

Tell your members of Congress to ban fracking on public lands:

Tell Congress to Ban Fracking on Public Lands