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Map Shows Drilling and Fracking Rampant on Western Public Lands

Check out our latest interactive map of oil and gas drilling permit data for American public lands. Click on the map above or…

October 26, 2017

drilling permits screenshotCheck out our latest interactive map of oil and gas drilling permit data for American public lands. Click on the map above or click here to access it.
This map shows the location of approved drilling permits (often called “applications for permits to drill”), pending drilling permits, and permits that have been withdrawn, canceled, etc. on public lands or publicly owned minerals. The map was prepared using the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s permit data, which can be queried and downloaded from the agency’s website.
What’s striking about this data is that it completely debunks the Trump Administration’s claim that the oil and gas industry is not able to obtain permits to drill for oil and gas on public lands. In spite of the Administration’s claim otherwise, thousands of permits are being approved, giving industry free rein to frack public lands across the United States.
In fact, so far this year, 1,210 permits have been approved by the Bureau of Land Management (on our map, if you click on the “layers” tab, you can click to see the permits approved so far in 2017).
That’s more than four drilling permits a day, a disturbing pace for anyone who cares about our public lands and our climate.
Drilling PermitsAnd while industry may demand more, the reality is, they don’t even have the rigs available to drill all these wells. As of October 20, 2017, only 892 rigs were even operating on U.S. lands. With more than 1,200 drilling permits in hand so far this year, industry doesn’t even have the equipment to drill everything its been permitted.
Not surprisingly, companies are actually sitting on more than 7,500 drilling permits already. These “idled” drilling permits show the industry has everything it wants and more. Click on the map below to see an interactive version of this data or click here.idled drilling permitsPerhaps not surprisingly, so far in 2017, more than 300 drilling permit applications have actually been withdrawn, canceled, or otherwise scrapped by industry.
In any case, there is no drought of drilling and fracking for oil and gas on American public lands. By all measures, the oil and gas industry is getting what it wants, when it wants, and where it wants.

Jeremy Nichols

About the Author

Jeremy Nichols | Climate and Energy Program Director, WildEarth Guardians

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