Hydraulic fracturing is a pretty widespread practice across America. States like California, Texas, Alaska, North Dakota, and Colorado are all “fracking” in one way or another, but some states are more lenient with regulation than others. For a quick breakdown, fracking can be regulated in four ways.


Before companies drill into the ground, they need to get the proper permit, as well as make sure the site is relatively safe for this practice. Testing the groundwater is common since contamination is a major concern for safety.

Ongoing Testing

Sometimes ongoing water testing occurs, however it’s not a widespread concern.

Liquid Waste

As workers drill and pump chemicals into the ground, liquid waste surges back to the surface. State governments are pretty keen on disposing of this waste properly during the drill.

Solid Waste

As the drill descends into the ground, solid waste regurgitates to the surface. Mud and other muck from fracking should be disposed of according to regulations in each state.

With that out of the way, here are the top three states with the most relaxed drilling regulations, according to ALS Global:

  1. Texas

Texas has always been the promise land for American oil and gas. Most states have additional testing and waste disposal regulations that are exclusive to fracking, however Texas does not. Under all four of the above sections, Texas doesn’t have any special regulations such as having to test water a half mile from the fracking site.

  1. Wyoming

Wyoming’s only fracking-exclusive regulation is to test for certain minerals, metals, and chemicals in the water underground before drilling. In all of the other sections, such as solid and liquid waste disposal, there are no additional testing regulations.

  1. West Virginia

West Virginia isn’t as lenient as Texas and Wyoming. Certain local governments have banned fracking entirely, but in the vast majority of the state where fracking is legal, there are little to no regulations. The only part West Virginia seems fixated on is the disposal of liquid waste, as there is a set of regulations specifically for the fracking industry in that regard.

About The Author Thomas Kuegler

I am a full-time journalist, travel blogger, and digital nomad currently traveling the United States. I'm a regular contributor at The Huffington Post, and my work has also been featured on sites like The Inquisitr and The Odyssey Online. Some of my hobbies include cooking, reading, and having uncontrollable fits of excitement whenever I see dogs. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from Messiah College, and in the future I want to backpack Europe by myself, meeting amazing and wonderful people around every corner.