Fracking Fallout: Waterways, Soils and Animals Poisoned with EPA Approval
Surface disposal of water produced by oil and gas drilling is forbidden in the Eastern U.S., but allowed in arid Western states for purposes of agricultural or wildlife propagation. The result: Millions of gallons of water laced with toxic chemicals from oil and gas drilling rigs are pumped for consumption by wildlife and livestock with approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA is issuing permits at nearly a dozen oil fields on or abutting the Native American Wind River Reservation, in Wyoming, for surface application of drilling wastewater without even identifying the chemicals in fluids used for hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, let alone setting effluent limits for the contaminants contained within them. Also, monitoring requirements allow water to be tested long after fracking outflow, or maintenance flushing, is completed. The EPA maintains Clean Water Act jurisdiction on tribal lands.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) Executive Director Jeff Ruch states, “Gushers of putrid, grayish water encrusted with chemical crystals flood through Wind River into nearby streams.” PEER is asking the EPA to rewrite the permits to regulate all the chemicals being discharged and to determine whether the produced water is potable for wildlife and livestock.