In Fracking's Wake: Vast Open Pits of Chemical Sludge

Big Oil + Bad Air is an 18-month investigation by InsideClimate News and the Center for Public Integrity.

The latest installment tackles a little-covered issue: air emissions from the waste that America's drilling boom has created.

InsideClimate News reporters David Hasemyer and Zahra Hirji show that because of a 1988 exemption from federal hazardous-waste laws sought by the oil and gas industry, the waste is classified as non-hazardous. That's left waste pits virtually unregulated and put nearby residents at risk of exposure to chemicals like benzene, which can cause cancer. The exemption, meanwhile, has saved oil and gas producers huge amounts of money.

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