Oil field workers are taking to the fields to inject their oils and other chemicals to keep the land healthy, with many seeing their lives improve.
The use of oil in agriculture has been controversial for centuries.
Many argue it is a toxin that is used to kill pests, but many also say it can improve soil fertility and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A recent study by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that using oil as an agricultural pesticide is the least effective way to help keep the soil healthy.
The EPA also found that the use of organic pesticides could have negative effects on the environment.
So far, there is no scientific evidence to back up these concerns.
“It’s just so obvious to me that we should be using these chemicals as we would anything else,” says Rachel Blanford, an organic farmer and a senior scientist with the US EPA.
“But we’re going to need a lot more research.”
The US EPA’s research into the use and effectiveness of oil field chemicals found that they can improve soils and plant growth, but could also cause soil erosion and lead to water pollution.
The agency said it had received about 4,500 reports of chemical use, and it found that only 2% of these cases were considered “serious” by the EPA.
The other 99% were not.
“There’s really no evidence to suggest these chemicals are safe or effective,” says Emily Baucom, a senior researcher with the EPA’s Agricultural Chemical Program (ACP).
“But the EPA is very much open to hearing from those who are using these products, because there are so many questions that need to be answered.”
But it is not just about the chemicals themselves.
For example, a recent study found that one in five farmers using oil fields in the US used a pesticide called Bt corn to kill aphids.
It’s believed to be the cause of a resurgence of the plant that has been linked to several health problems, including cancers, birth defects and neurological damage.
The US Department of Agriculture has also been investigating the use, safety and efficacy of the oil fields for the past few years.
“We’ve been looking into a number of different issues, including the use [of the chemicals], and there’s been some pretty compelling research showing there are actually some real benefits,” says Anita Rood, a spokesperson for the Department of the Interior.
She says the department is still looking into the issue and will “continue to monitor this research”.
But the biggest issue in the field right now is the oil itself.
The majority of oil fields are found in the western United States, but a small number of them are located in the heart of the Midwest.
Some fields, such as those in the Midwest and in the Dakotas, are so remote that the EPA has said that it is unable to fully understand the effects on health of using them.
“The vast majority of our research has been focused on oil fields,” says Rood.
“So when we come across oil fields that are found here in the United States it’s a very different thing.”
“It doesn’t feel like it’s happening in the world’s biggest oil patch,” says Blanbridge.
“You have a lot of people who have no idea what’s going on.
They have no awareness of the environmental impacts of these practices.”
The biggest oil field in the country, the Bakken, is in North Dakota, which is also home to the largest number of oil operations in the U.S. Although it is considered one of the most biodiverse areas in the nation, it has been hit hard by the oil boom and the recent spike in earthquakes and fires.
Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that there are more than 6,500 oil wells in the Bakka region, which covers roughly 1,500 square miles.
That means more than 90% of the area is considered oil-rich.
The oil companies that operate in the region rely on the oil for everything from fracking to pipelines to transport.
Some have even used fracking fluid to extract oil.
“A lot of oil companies have been saying that they are doing everything possible to keep people safe from earthquakes, so they have really been doing a pretty poor job of protecting the environment,” says James Taylor, an environmental campaigner with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Taylor is also a member of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a group that has filed a lawsuit against the companies.
“They’re actually allowing the fracking to happen,” Taylor says.
“That’s a pretty big deal when you consider what these oil companies are actually creating in the process.”
In 2016, the EPA announced that it was taking action against oil companies, and is looking at their actions to protect public health.
The most significant step is a moratorium on the use in the state of oil that is extracted in the North Dakota Bakken region, the largest oil production area in the Americas.
The moratorium is scheduled to expire in 2020. The ban is