4 in 10 higher risk wells aren't inspected by feds

NEW CASTLE, Colo. (AP) — An Associated Press review finds many new oil and gas wells near fragile areas aren't getting any federal inspection from an agency that's having a tough time keeping pace with America's drilling boom.

Government data obtained by the AP point to the Bureau of Land Management as so overwhelmed by a boom in a new drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that it has been unable to keep up with inspections of some of the highest priority wells.

The review finds four in 10 new oil and gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks go uninspected. The review also shows wide state-by-state disparities.

Roughly half or more of wells on federal and Indian lands weren't checked in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, despite potential harm that has led to efforts in some communities to ban new drilling due to water supply and other concerns.

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