GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
What GAO FoundAs with conventional oil and gas development, requirements from eight federal environmental and public health laws apply to unconventional oil and gas development. For example, the Clean Water Act (CWA) regulates discharges of pollutants into surface waters.
The Department of the Interior (Interior) leases public lands for oil and natural gas development, which generated about $9 billion in royalties in 2009. Some gas produced on these leases cannot be easily captured and is released (vented) directly to the atmosphere or is burned (flared).
Since 1995, the average price of natural gas in the United States has almost tripled as demand has grown faster than supply. Despite this increase, natural gas is regularly lost as it is burned (flared) and released into the atmosphere (vented) during the production of oil and gas.