Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Report: Frackers use unregulated diesel-like fluids

A new report from the Environmental Working Group says poor federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique that boosts natural gas extraction by blasting water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressure, puts drinking water supplies at risk. EWG, a Washington-based research and advocacy group, says drilling companies are "side-stepping a permitting requirement for the use of diesel fuel in their fracturing fluids by using similar petroleum distillates that contain the same toxins as diesel, but require no permitting," John Collins Rudolf of The New York Times reports.

"The industry has been able to operate above the law,” said Dusty Horwitt, EWG's senior counsel. "They’re doing an end-run around what little oversight is left." The report also cites evidence that drilling companies continue to inject diesel fuel underground without proper permits. Gas companies "acknowledge the validity of some concerns, but they claim that their technology is fundamentally safe," Rudolf reports. (Read more)

The West Virginia Independent Oil and Gas Association told Ken Ward Jr. of The Charleston Gazette such practices are "long-standing and proven technology that enables operators to better produce much needed natural gas for our nation." Julie Archer, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Association, disagreed: "The industry claims that the chemicals are safe and pose no threat to human health, but as the EWG report indicates, they are not as benign as the industry would have us believe. By failing to require disclosure, the state runs the risk of being perceived -- like the industry -- of hiding danger from the public." (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!