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EcoWatch reminds us of the egregious practice of dumping untreated fracking wastewater directly into the Gulf of Mexico. Incredibly, this is legal and has been for some time.
Incredible also is how we treat our planet which gives us life. We are destroying our home and our life source. This is needless destruction brought about to earn money when we could protect our planet and still garner energy from solar and wind.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Jul. 18, 2017 02:42PM EST
Will the Gulf of Mexico Remain a Dumping Ground for Offshore Fracking Waste?
By Mike Ludwig
As the Trump administration moves to gut Obama-era clean water protections nationwide, an environmental group is warning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that its draft pollution discharge permit for offshore drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico violates clean water laws because it allows operators to dump fracking chemicals and large volumes of drilling wastewater directly into the Gulf.
In a recent letter to the agency, the Center for Biological Diversity told the EPA that the dumping of drilling wastewater—which can contain fracking chemicals, drilling fluids and pollutants, such as heavy metals—directly into Gulf waters is unacceptable and prohibited under the Clean Water Act.
Under current rules established by the Obama administration, offshore oil and gas platforms can discharge well-treatment chemicals and unlimited amounts of “produced waters” from undersea wells directly into the Gulf as long as operators perform toxicity tests a few times a year and monitor for “sheens” on the water’s surface. About 75 billion gallons of produced water were dumped in the Gulf in 2014 alone, according to EPA records.
Offshore fracking, which typically involves injecting water and chemicals at high pressure into undersea wells to improve the flow of oil and gas, has rapidly expanded in the Gulf of Mexico over the past decade. The latest draft of the pollution discharge permit, which was largely prepared under the Obama administration, would require drillers to collect information on the fracking chemicals they dump overboard. Regulators want to know what these chemicals are; their catalogue of offshore fracking chemicals has not been updated since 2001, despite advancements in technology.
“It’s absolutely appalling that EPA is letting oil companies dump fracking wastewater into the Gulf without any idea of the types of chemicals being discharged, or their effects on sea turtles, sturgeon or the other marine life that call Gulf waters home,” said Kristen Monsell, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, in an email to Truthout.
The Center for Biological Diversity, is also fighting offshore fracking off the coast of California, where a federal court on Friday rejected the Trump administration’s effort to dismiss legal challenges to fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel. The Center for Biological Diversity, along with other environmental groups and the state of California, argue in separate lawsuits that federal regulators did not do enough to study and mitigate the environmental impacts of offshore fracking before allowing operators to use the technology in Pacific waters.