The oil and gas industry manage a variety of operations, from gathering natural gas to the transmission and distribution of pipelines. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the oil and gas industry is a significant source of methane emissions, which is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide. Because of these risks, there are federal and state regulations in place to protect people and the planet.
There are multiple agencies in Arkansas that are in charge of environmental policies and regulations. The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission is responsible for the prevention of waste, encouragement of conversation, and the protection of the rights of ownership associated with the production of oil, natural gas, brine, and associated products. The State of Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, on the other hand, protects the natural resources of the state, like the air, water, land, and threat of pollution.
Even with the existence of these agencies, the threat of oil and gas pollution still exists. When accidents happen involving oil and gas pollution, the consequences can be devastation and even deadly. If you’re a victim of this type of pollution, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. To do so, you can speak to the Little Rock oil & gas contamination lawyers from McMath Woods P.A. To help you understand a bit about oil and gas pollution and contamination, keep reading.
Why Does Oil and Gas Contamination Happen?
Environmental damage is almost always caused by human error. Here are some of the most common causes of oil and gas pollution:
- Improper storage or transport of hazardous waste or materials
- Inadequate oilfield cleanup
- Illegally dumping toxic waste
- Inadequate site inspections
- Leaking pipelines
- Improperly testing drilling sites
- Incorrectly lining oilfield pits and ponds
While there are guidelines in place to avoid these situations, companies will sometimes take shortcuts in order to raise their profit margins. When these incidents occur, the effects can be detrimental in a variety of areas.
What Types of Pollution Result from Oil and Gas Industry Accidents?
Oil and gas pollution can negatively impact humans and wildlife in a variety of ways. The consequences can be related back to three areas: air, water, and land.
When oil and natural gases are burned, the air becomes polluted. Specific air pollutants include volatile organic compounds, hydrogen sulfide, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
In the development of oil and gas, air pollution can be emitted during the following stages:
- When condensate tanks are using to store hydrocarbons that change from gas to liquid.
- When engines are used during drilling, trucking, and oil rig work, and release exhaust emission in the air.
- When methane gas leaks occur from improperly secured equipment.
- When pits are used to store water, wastewater, and flowback after the gas has been extracted.
Water pollution is imminent in the event of an oil spill. When tankers experience accidents on the water, millions of gallons of oil can be released into our oceans and other bodies of water. Plant, animal, and aquatic habitats face severe consequences when these spills occur.
Natural gas development can also pollute drinking water during drilling, fracking, refining, or the disposal of wastewater. In the event of a leak, methane and other violate compounds can seep into groundwater.
Oil spills can happen on land in the event of a pipeline leak, train accident, drilling accident, improper oil storage, and more. Inland oil spills prevent soil from absorbing water, which means the geology of the area can be permanently changed.
In addition to the changes to the land, individuals in these areas may suffer from the depreciation of their homes’ values after an accident involving gas or oil pollution.
What Injuries and Illnesses are Associated with Gas and Oil Pollution?
While the habitats of plants and animals are often directly and quickly affected by gas and oil pollution, residents nearby also face severe risks when dealing with contamination in their soil and water.
Some of the most common injuries and illnesses associated with gas and oil pollution are:
- Asthma and other breathing conditions
- Skin conditions
- Fertility issues
- Neurological problems
- Brain damage
While local residents are likely to be impacted by gas or oil pollution, the individuals employed by the gas and oil companies are also at risk for the adverse conditions listed above.
What Can a Little Rock Oil & Gas Contamination Lawyer Do?
Oil and gas pollution can cause the wrongful and unnecessary suffering of families and entire communities because of the associated risks and illnesses. Our oil and gas pollution lawyers at McMath Woods P.A., have decades of experience with environmental litigation and are prepared to fight for you. Battling gas and oil companies can be brutal, but we’re experienced and ready to do whatever it takes. Contact us today.