U.S. oil and gas firms have been accused by an environmental regulator of failure to apply for permits to use diesel in fracking activities, potentially increasing the risk of polluting water sources.
The Environmental Integrity Project sifted through data posted on an industry-linked website and discovered that since 2010, 351 wells have been fracked using chemicals that can be defined as diesel as per the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition.
The watchdog also found that in 143 instances, the negligent company later removed the disclosure from FracFocus website. Mary Greene, the watchdog’s managing attorney who compiled the report, said the disclosures were deleted from the site after the EPA defined chemicals that qualify to be diesel in February.
EPA rules state that a company that intends to use diesel must apply for federal or state permit, yet no record exists of any drilling company having done so.
“Companies that inject diesel without permits should be fined for ignoring the law,” said Ms. Greene, in a statement seen by Bloomberg News. “The public deserves more disclosure and transparency about the toxic chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.”
In 2005, the U.S. Congress freed fracking from the constraints of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Fracking is a method of oil and gas extraction that involves blasting a mix of chemicals, sand and water into the underground shale rocks to free the trapped oil or shale gas. This exemption was labeled as the “Halliburton loophole” in reference to Halliburton Co, the world’s largest fracking services company, which was headed by Richard Cheney who became vice president in 2000.
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