Department of the Interior releases a disappointing draft rule for fracking

From: Big news today: Department of the Interior releases a disappointing draft rule for fracking | Amy Mall’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

May 4, 2012

Excerpt from the article:

Some of our concerns:

  • The proposal would require oil and gas producers to report what chemicals they’ve used in fracking after a job is completed, but it does not require them to report beforehand what they plan to use. This information is important for communities to have beforehand so they know what chemicals will be stored and transported nearby, and have advance warning to test their drinking water for the right chemicals.  They shouldn’t have to wait for this information.
  • Some of these chemicals may be kept secret if they involved proprietary formulas, but there is no clearly defined method for physicians, other health professionals, or first responders to gain access to these trade secrets if needed to treat a patient or in an emergency.
  • Fracking wastewater, which is often quite toxic, will still be allowed to be stored in open air waste pits. These pits can lead to groundwater or surface water contamination, dangerous air pollution, wildlife poisoning, and soil contamination. Instead, the BLM should have required this waste always be stored in enclosed tanks.
  • There are no standards for well construction, including casing and cementing, although a company will have to certify that the casing passed a mechanical integrity test.
  •  Companies will not have to identify nearby water wells or old abandoned oil or gas wells before fracking–known pathways for aquifer contamination, nor will they have to notify nearby residents.
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