Fracking by the Numbers

New Report from Environment Texas Research and Policy Center First to Quantify Damage Done by Gas Drilling

Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

CONTACT: Dani Neuharth-Keusch, 512-236-0646, [email protected]

AUSTIN ­— As Texans continue to struggle with extreme drought, a new report shows fracking has already used at least 110 billion gallons of Texas fresh water — enough to fill a third of the entire volume of Lake Travis. The Environment Texas Research & Policy Center report, “Fracking by the Numbers,” is the first of its kind to measure the footprint of fracking in Texas to date.

 “The numbers don’t lie — fracking has taken a dirty and destructive toll on our environment and is draining our water resources,” said Dani Neuharth-Keusch, field associate with Environment Texas. “If fracking continues unchecked, these numbers will only get more dire.”

Fracking by the Numbers also found the destructive drilling practice produced 260 billion gallons of toxic wastewater in Texas in 2012 alone. Environment Texas is calling on federal officials to regulate the disposal of this toxic wastewater, which routinely contains chemicals such as diesel and hydrochloric acid. Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17) has introduced the CLEANER Act (H.R. 2825) — a bill that would close the loophole exempting oil and gas waste from the nation’s hazardous waste law.

The report’s data on water use by fracking comes as the state’s voters will consider Proposition 6, a historic commitment to investing in efficiency and conservation of water to combat the drought. While not a high percentage of water use, the fact that such volumes wind up deep-well injected permanently removes this water from Texas’ limited water supply.

“Fracking by the Numbers” measured key indicators of fracking threats in Texas, including:

  • 260 billion gallons of toxic wastewater generated in 2012
  • 275,000 tons of air pollution in 2012
  • 110 billion gallons of Texas fresh water used since 2005
  • 130,000 acres of land degraded since 2005
  • 40 million metric tons of global warming pollution since 2005.

“The bottom line is this: The numbers on fracking add up to an environmental nightmare,” said Neuharth-Keusch. “For public health and our environment, we need to ultimately put a stop to fracking. Our federal officials can start by closing the loopholes that exempt fracking from our nation’s hazardous waste law.”


Environment Texas is a state-based, citizen-supported, environmental advocacy organization, working towards a cleaner, greener, healthier future.