Sunday, February 27, 2011

NYT uncovers confidential gas industry, EPA reports.

The New York Times published a lengthy story online yesterday (appearing on the front page of today's newspaper) detailing just how inadequate the existing regulations are when it comes to fracking for natural gas.  Of particular note: the revelation in a gas industry report that "treated" fracking water released back into our streams and rivers still contains amounts of radioactivity that cannot be diluted.  Seems like a no-brainer to me but it's the first time I've heard an industry insider admit it.  Of course the admission takes place in a confidential report that is only now seeing the light of day.  Furthermore, EPA scientists express concern in their own study--also never made public--that water treatment plants are incapable of removing certain contaminants and are in all likelihood violating the law.

Here's an excerpt:

"...While the existence of the toxic wastes has been reported, thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.

The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle.

The Times also found never-reported studies by the E.P.A. and a confidential study by the drilling industry that all concluded that radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways...."

To read the entire article in full, click HERE.

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