U.S. low-producing oil and gas wells and the people affected by their pollution

Small wells can mean big pollution – and outsized impacts for the 8 million Americans living nearby.

There are over 500,000 “low-producing” wells across the U.S. that together produce just 6% of the country’s oil and gas, yet drive over half of all wellsite methane pollution nationwide.

That methane – a greenhouse gas over 80 times more powerful than CO2 – has the same near-term climate impact as 71 million cars driving for a year. It also leaks from oil and gas wells alongside other chemicals and pollutants that are an urgent threat to the health and air quality of the 8 million people living nearby.

Click on a county below to learn about the communities who are at the greatest risk from this pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new standards to curb oil and gas methane pollution, but its current proposal omits these small wells with leak-prone equipment from regular monitoring.

Because methane is also the main component of natural gas, these emissions represent a major source of wasted energy. The nation’s low-producing wells waste roughly $700M worth of gas annually – enough to meet the needs of every home in Pennsylvania.

President Biden and the U.S. EPA should adopt comprehensive rules now that address these outsized sources of pollution to protect communities’ health, safeguard our climate and stop the needless waste of energy resources.