Texas leads the nation in energy production. But being number one also has its downsides in terms of air pollution. Well known for its hands-off approach to environmental enforcement, Texas allows industries to release excessive amounts of air pollution when old and poorly controlled equipment breaks down and when facilities undergo maintenance work.
In 2015, 679 industrial sites in more than 100 Texas counties released more than 34,000 tons of air pollutants during 3,421 incidents of malfunctions and maintenance events, according to industry self-reported data.
Since 2005, according to industry and state data, at least 137,000 fracking wells have been drilled or permitted in more than 20 states, but the scale of fracking’s impact on our environment can be difficult to grasp. This report quantifies some of the key environmental and public health-related impacts triggered by fracking during the technology’s decade-long spread across the country. To protect the public and our environment, states should take action to ban fracking, or, failing that, to ensure that oil and gas companies are held to the highest level of environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
Solar power grew at a record-breaking pace in 2015. The United States now has more than 27,000 megawatts (MW) of cumulative solar electric capacity, enough to power more than 5.4 million American homes. Hundreds of thousands of Americans – especially in our cities – have invested in solar panels on their roofs or solar projects in their communities, and millions more are ready to join them.
Solar energy is expanding rapidly across the United States – increasing more than 100-fold over the past decade. But, there are still many untapped opportunities to harness the nation’s nearly limitless solar potential. The United States has the technical potential to produce more than 100 times as much electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) installations as the nation consumes each year. Given our abundant solar resources, America must take advantage of untapped opportunities to install solar technologies – like using rooftops of large superstores and “big box” retail stores as hosts for clean electricity generation.
Wind power continues to grow as a source of clean energy across America. The United States generated 26 times more electricity from wind power in 2014 than it did in 2001. American wind power has already significantly reduced global warming pollution. In 2014 alone, wind-generated electricity averted an estimated 143 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – as much as would be produced by 37 typical coal-fired power plants. With America’s massive potential for wind energy on land and off our coasts, wind power can play a key role in meeting the emission reduction targets of the recently adopted Clean Power Plan and moving the nation toward a future of 100 percent renewable electricity.