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Air Quality Laws Pertaining to Oil and Gas Development Map

A production boom in directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing (more commonly known as “fracking”) has resulted in shale oil and gas development in regions unaccustomed to the industry as well as in regions that have a century-long relationship with oil and gas extraction. Developing oil and natural gas requires numerous stages – drilling, completion, production, and operation – that have the potential to affect air quality through the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to the creation of smog, hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

This comparative dataset focuses on some of the most important law for controlling VOCs, HAPs, and methane, and only examines laws pertaining to air quality for operations and equipment on the well pad site. It does not cover processing, transmission, storage and distribution. The dataset includes federal regulations of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and statutes and regulations from 17 states. Under authority of the Clean Air Act, EPA rules establish the minimum requirements for the entire country. In many cases, states have adopted the federal rules by reference or explicitly incorporated comparable provisions into their state regulations. Other states, including Arkansas and New York (which are included in this dataset) have not done so, but the requirements of federal law still apply.

To explore the law pertaining to specific air quality issues related to oil and gas activities, current as of November 25, 2015, use the blue “Start here” box below. For a summary of all of the law compiled for a specific jurisdiction, click on the corresponding part of the map.

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If you have questions, corrections, or additions, please contact Matt Samelson at

Related Resources

Acronym Glossary

LawAtlas Interactive Maps: 
Air Quality:  Air Quality Laws Pertaining to Oil and Gas Development
Water Quality:  Permitting, Design, and Construction
Water Quality:  Well Drilling
Water Quality:  Well Completion
Water Quality:  Production and Operation
Water Quality:  Reclamation
Water Quantity:  Quantity

Did you know?

Laws in seven of 18 jurisdictions examined here have leak detection and reporting (LDAR) programs related to air pollution sources.

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Map Legend: State Included in research. Not included in research.