Various environmental advocacy groups have filed a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency alleging that the agency has not done enough to address the environmental concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking. The groups say current regulations on fracking wastewater disposal are vague and inadequate, and they are seeking to force the EPA to establish stricter rules on disposal of fracking wastewater.
Typical industry practice at present is to pump the wastewater into underground wells, but oil and gas companies are able to dispose of the toxic waste in a variety of ways, including spraying it on icy roads and putting it in landfills. The advocacy groups behind the litigation are saying EPA has allegedly failed to update the rules for oil and gas drilling waste disposal for almost 30 years, and that something needs to be done to specifically address issues stemming from inadequate fracking waste disposal methods.
One of the issues environmentalists are concerned about is fracking-induced earthquakes, which have been reported in a variety of states as a result of fracking. Not surprisingly, the industry has downplayed the link between fracking and increased earthquake activity in states where fracking is practiced. Drinking water contamination is another major concern.
Among the requests the group are making of the EPA is a ban on dumping waste on fields and roads, where it is more likely to pollute sources of drinking water, as well as the establishment of clear rules regarding the dumping of fracking wastewater in ponds and landfills.
In our next post, we’ll keep looking at this story, as well as how those harmed by improper disposal of toxic waste can go about seeking compensation for their injuries and losses.