Almost 4 million children in the U.S., 5.7 million people of color, and 17 million people in total, currently live within the half-mile “health threat radius” of an active upstream oil and gas facility, according to a new geospatial analysis released Tuesday by Earthworks and FracTracker. The extensive Oil and Gas Threat Map uses analysis from peer-reviewed studies linking health harms like birth defects, infant mortality, preterm births, blood disorders, and elevated cancer risks to proximity to oil and gas sites. They then cross-referenced census population statistics with data from the Department of Education to locate over 12,000 K-12 schools within a half-mile of oil and gas sites, illuminating the heightened risk fossil fuel extraction poses to children.
The mapping tool “gives the president 17 million more reasons—living, breathing reasons—to make sure that his EPA finalizes the strongest rules possible under the Clean Air Act to cut oil and gas methane and to work to end the extraction of fossil fuels,” Earthworks spokesman Josh Eisenfeld told reporters. (Gizmodo, Capital & Main, New Mexico Political Report)