Thursday, May 05, 2016

Environmental groups sue EPA, calling for updated, stricter rules for wastewater from fracking

Environmental advocacy groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday, "saying the government has failed to adequately regulate the disposal of waste generated by oil and gas drilling," Brady Dennis reports for The Washington Post. The groups, which want stricter rules on the disposal of wastewater, "argue that EPA has neglected to revise its existing rules for nearly three decades, despite acknowledging in the late 1980s that stricter requirements were needed for the handling of oil and gas drilling waste." The groups also cited an increasing number of studies linking the oil and gas industry to earthquakes from fracking-disposal wells as another reason for stricter rules.

"In addition, the groups want EPA to ban the practice of dumping fracking wastewater on fields and roads, where it potentially could pollute drinking water sources," Dennis writes. "They also want the agency to require that ponds and landfills where drilling and fracking waste are dumped built to certain specifications and adequately lined to prevent leaks. The lawsuit asks the court to set strict deadlines for EPA to adopt updated rules."

A.J. Ferate, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, told the Post last year, “It’s hard to deny that in certain geographic locations with certain geologic circumstances, we’ve had some problems with some wastewater wells. But to make a blanket assertion that wastewater wells are always the cause, I don’t know that I can agree with that.” (Read more)

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