With the advancement of three-dimensional seismic exploration technologies, horizontal drilling, and hydraulic fracturing, the exploration and production of unconventional hydrocarbon resources have become profitable. The environmental problems of the development of three main groups of unconventional oils, including oil shale, oil sands, and extra heavy crude oil, have been evaluated. The use of unconventional hydrocarbon resources has significant environmental hazards for the planet that must be clearly identified. Although these resources are important in terms of economics and energy security, environmental issues are the most critical challenge for the future of the industry. This descriptive-analytical survey study employed data from databases, United States government data resources, and literature review. The development of unconventional energy sources has significant environmental effects on water, air, land, and communities that need to be discussed. Land degradation, waste generation, water consumption, and hazardous wastewater production, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, ecological threats, and biodiversity damage are among the most noticeable complications. Sustainable development is dependent on the management of environmental costs. Discussion and Conclusion: The enactment and implementation of efficient environmental laws and the enforcement of appropriate standards can be effective in reducing the destructive effects on ecosystems and in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.