Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson announced today the agency would set guidelines limiting wastewater pollution from gas development, including the controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
The move comes after attorneys at Earthjustice sent a request to the agency on behalf of 63 groups across the country, urging the agency to expand an ongoing study of one form of natural gas mining—coalbed methane extraction—to include oil and gas development and fracking in its study.
Some of the chemicals in fracking fluids are known carcinogens and the health effects of many additives are not fully understood, in large part because industry officials have refused to disclose precisely what they are using.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney Deborah Goldberg.
“We applaud the Environmental Protection Agency for announcing it will limit wastewater pollution from gas development, including the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
“The nation is in the midst of a fracking-fueled gas rush which is generating toxic wastewater faster than treatment plants can handle it. The EPA’s proposal is a common sense solution for this growing public health problem and will help keep poisons out of our rivers, streams, and drinking water.
“These protections should be implemented right away. The millions of Americans who depend on drinking water that comes from the gasfields can’t wait much longer.”