A Pennsylvania state coalition of environmental, watershed, and sporting organizations is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take immediate action following a large scale fish kill in Dunkard Creek. View the press release
EPA: Chemicals Found in Wyo. Drinking Water Might Be From Fracking by Abrahm Lustgarten, for ProPublica:
Federal environment officials investigating drinking water contamination near the ranching town of Pavillion, Wyo., have found that at least three water wells contain a chemical used in the natural gas drilling process of hydraulic fracturing. Scientists also found traces of other contaminants, including oil, gas or metals, in 11 of 39 wells tested there since March.
The study, which is being conducted under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program, is the first time the EPA has undertaken its own water analysis in response to complaints of contamination in drilling areas, and it could be pivotal in the national debate over the role of natural gas in America’s energy policy. (Read more)
Reuters: EPA Scientists Find 2-BE in drinking water wells near drilling operations reads in part: “Among the contaminants found in some of the wells was 2-butoyethanol, or 2-BE, a solvent used in natural gas extraction, which researchers say causes the breakdown of red blood cells, leading to blood in the urine and feces, and can damage the kidneys, liver, spleen and bone marrow.”
Fortuna Energy has refused to state for the record that this chemical 2-BE would NOT be a component of the chemicals to be injected into the Mallula test well in Van Etten. Help protect our water »
We should contact the EPA and demand they expect coal and gas/oil to also “foot the bill for environmental cleanup”! Read on to see what they’re planning for the mining industry…
EPA Publishes Notice Identifying Hardrock Mining Industry for Financial Responsibility Requirements; EPA plans to propose rule by spring 2011
WASHINGTON – The U.S. EPA has identified the hardrock mining industry as its priority for developing financial assurance requirements. Financial assurance requirements help ensure that owners and operators of these facilities, not taxpayers, foot the bill for environmental cleanup. These requirements will be developed under section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly called “Superfund.” EPA plans to propose the rule by spring of 2011. The agency will publish a notice of this priority in the Federal Register, which is the first step toward developing the requirements.
The priority notice identifying hardrock mining also satisfies a court order issued by the United States District Court.
Financial assurance requirements can promote responsible environmental practices within industries. Since Congress enacted Superfund in 1980, EPA has spent billions of dollars to clean up uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
EPA decided to develop financial responsibility requirements for classes of facilities within the hardrock mining industry before it did so for other types of facilities. This conclusion is based upon those facilities’ sheer size; the enormous quantities of waste and other materials exposed to the environment; the wide range of hazardous substances released to the environment; the number of active hardrock mining facilities; the extent of environmental contamination, including the number of sites identified by EPA as needing cleanup under Superfund’s National Priorities List; and government expenditures, projected clean-up costs, and corporate structure and bankruptcy potential.
Hardrock mining facilities include those that extract, beneficiate and process metals (e.g., copper, gold, iron, lead, magnesium, molybdenum, silver, uranium, and zinc) and non-metallic, non-fuel minerals (e.g., asbestos, gypsum, phosphate rock, and sulfur). Coal mining facilities are not hardrock mining facilities and are not included in EPA’s priority notice.
The agency plans to examine other industries outside of the hardrock mining industry that also may warrant the development of financial responsibility requirements under Superfund by the end of the year. EPA plans to examine, at a minimum, the following classes of facilities: hazardous waste generators, hazardous waste recyclers, metal finishers, wood treatment facilities, and chemical manufacturers. This list may be revised as the agency’s evaluation proceeds. EPA is scheduled to publish the notice addressing additional classes of facilities the agency plans to evaluate by December 2009. At that time, the agency will solicit public comment.
More information can be found here.
Washington, DC — Continuing his efforts to close a legal loophole that exempts hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas exploration and drilling from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) used a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior hearing today to ask U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson to conduct a review of her agency’s policy on the risk that fracturing poses to drinking water supplies. Jackson told Hinchey that she believed her agency should review the risk that fracturing poses to drinking water in light of various cases across the country that raise questions about the safety.
“It’s imperative that we protect our drinking water supplies from harmful chemicals that are being pumped into the ground by oil and gas companies looking to produce on more and more land in New York and across the country,” Hinchey said. “I was extremely pleased that EPA Administrator Jackson recognized the need for the EPA to reexamine the Bush administration’s misguided views on the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing. We are in a much stronger position to protect our drinking water now that we have an administration in place that is committed to environmental protection. While there is value in drilling for natural gas, it’s imperative that we do so in a manner that doesn’t have long-term environmental consequences on our drinking water — a resource that is critical to human health and survival.”
In the now infamous 2005 Energy Policy Act, which Hinchey strongly opposed and voted against, Congress shockingly exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act, which was designed to protect people’s water supply from contamination from toxic materials. This loophole, which some have called the Halliburton Loophole, has created an extremely dangerous set of circumstances.
Hydraulic fracturing — also known as “fracking” — involves injecting fluids into a well at extremely high pressure to crack open an underground formation and then prop open the new fractures in order to facilitate the flow of oil and gas out of the well. More than 90 percent of oil and gas wells in the U.S. undergo this treatment with many undergoing it more than once over the life of the well.
More than 1,000 cases of contamination have been documented by courts and state and local governments in New Mexico, Alabama, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. In one case, a house exploded after hydraulic fracturing created underground passageways and methane seeped into the residential water supply.
A 2004 EPA study, which was haphazardly conducted with a bias toward a desired outcome, concluded that fracturing did not pose a risk to drinking water. However, Hinchey noted that the more than 1,000 reported contamination incidents have cast significant doubt on the report’s findings and the report’s own body contains damaging information that wasn’t mentioned in the conclusion. In fact, the study foreshadowed many of the problems now being reported across the country.
Administrative Assistant/Communications Director
Office of Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY22)