At the end of September, attorneys for the Center for Biological Diversity sent a letter warning the EPA that its draft plan, which would continue to allow oil and gas companies to dump unlimited amounts of fracking chemicals and wastewater directly into the Gulf of Mexico, was in violation of federal law.
It should go without saying that there is no wisdom in dumping wastewater, which contains many dangerous chemicals, into our oceans- furthering the breakdown of our water quality and marine wildlife.
From the article:
“The attorneys claim that regulators do not fully understand how the chemicals used in offshore fracking and other well treatments – some of which are toxic and dangerous to human and marine life – can impact marine environments, and crucial parts of the draft permit are based on severely outdated data. Finalizing the draft permit as it stands would be a violation of the Clean Water Act, they argue.
The EPA is endangering an entire ecosystem by allowing the oil industry to dump unlimited amounts of fracking chemicals and drilling waste fluid into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Center attorney Kristen Monsell. “This appalling plan from the agency that’s supposed to protect our water violates federal law, and shows a disturbing disregard for offshore fracking’s toxic threats to sea turtles and other Gulf wildlife.”
Fracking offshore pumps water, chemicals, and sand- at extremely high pressures- into undersea wells to break up rock and sand formations and clear pathways for oil and gas. But the offshore drillers also treat their wells with corrosive acids, like hydrochloric acid, in a process known as “acidizing.” While these technologies have been used hundreds of times in recent years, little was publicly known until Truthout and environmental groups began filing information requests with federal regulators.
Even though regulators and the fossil fuel industry claim that offshore fracking has a good safety record, environmentalists are still worried because the chemicals used in the process are known to harm marine wildlife and dolphins and other species in the Gulf are still suffering from the lingering effects of the BP oil spill in 2010.
Currently, offshore drillers can dump unlimited amounts of fracking and acidizing chemicals overboard as long as they are mixed with the wastewater that returns from undersea wells (in 2014 alone more than 75 billion gallons of these “produced waters” were dumped directly into the Gulf of Mexico- enjoy your swim). Now, while this still seems nuts to us all, the EPA has pinhole vision; they expect these chemicals to have little impact on the environment because the massive volumes of wastewater will be diluted by the ocean. Sadly, much of the data the EPA uses to justify their decisions comes from studies done in the 1980s and 1990s. Offshore production technology has clearly advanced since then and hundreds of fracking jobs have occurred in the Gulf in the past five years alone.
Just how many jobs does that amount to? Documents released under a legal settlement between the Interior Department and the Center for Biological Diversity, show more than 1,500 frack jobs at over 600 Gulf wells between 2010 and 2014. In each of them, permit modifications were exempted from comprehensive environmental reviews.
So, enjoy your swim AND your seafood dinner.
Truthfully, if the EPA cared about the ocean and its occupants, and how in turn the oceans health impacts the WORLD, they would allow ZERO dumping of hazardous fracking chemicals and other wastes. But that only makes sense to the rest of us.
These are scary times and this is insanity. How can we possibly sit by and allow them to destroy our oceans?
We will keep you updated as we have new information.