Water Withdrawal Regulations - Farmers and Enviros Unite
The business of farmers is threatened by a loss of groundwater to the gas drilling industry, which withdrawals several million gallons of water for each of up to a dozen horizontal fracking wells per vertical drilling pad. For dairy and vegetable farmers, water can be more valuable than natural gas. Farmers are joining environmentalists to support a bill that gives the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation the power to regulate water withdrawals. See the report New H20 regulations on tap.
What do you do with huge volumes of Fracking Wastewater?
What will be done with the millions of gallons of fracking wastewater, which contains toxic chemicals, radioactivity and brine? Accepting the wastewater from the natural gas industry could be a major revenue generator for local sewage treatment plants, but upgrading plants to treat it would be expensive and the composition of the fluid could be problematic. See the report Most N.Y. treatment plants not equipped to handle hydrofracking wastewater.
A Pennsylvania hauler is charged with 175 criminal counts of dumping waste, including Marcellus Shale drilling wastewater, in parts of six counties. The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) ordered the wastewater hauling business and a wastewater treatment facility to shut down immediately, after a grand jury recommended the criminal charges against the owner and one of the businesses for illegally dumping millions of gallons of gas well drilling water and municipal sludge. The liquid waste was dumped on the ground or into streams, sometimes after dark or during heavy rain storms to mask the illegal activity. See the report DEP shuts two firms in dumping case.
Another Local Ban on Fracking in NY
Buffalo was the first city in NY to ban fracking as well as the disposal and transportation of the wastewater. Recently, Ulster County legislators voted unanimously to prohibit the leasing of any county-owned lands for natural gas extraction by high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Their only questions was ‘why limit it to county lands’? Read more and see the text of the resolution here: Ulster County legislature bans fracking on county lands.
Both Chambers of Congress get back in the FRAC Act
The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act would close Bush-era oil and gas industry loopholes in the Safe Drinking Water Act and require disclosure of chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing. The bill is being reintroduced, and if it becomes law, the EPA would regain the ability to regulate hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas companies would once again be required under federal law to report the chemicals they are shooting into the ground. Read Members of Congress Fight to Protect Drinking Water From Gas Drilling Pollution.
It's not just about the Water -- Gas Drilling Pollutes the Air -- BREATHE Act
Wyoming recently saw several major gas drilling companies temporarily shut down operations because of ozone alerts. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-CO, joined with Reps. Maurice Hinchey, D-NY, whose district is in the midst of a major natural gas boom, and Rush Holt, D-NJ, to introduce the BREATHE (Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effects) Act. The Act would remove two exemptions for gas drilling under the Clean Air Act. See the report Polis follows up FRAC Act with BREATHE Act to strip clean air exemptions for gas drilling.
See also a recent post, Radioactive Fracking Waste Threatens Drinking Water, and earlier posts about Fracking.