Thursday, July 23, 2015

EPA Inspector General Publishes Report on EPA’s Actions to Protect Water Resources

On July 16, 2015, EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report assessing EPA and states’ legal efforts to protect and manage water resources from the negative impacts of hydraulic fracturing. As part of this assessment, OIG pointed out two issues upon which it recommends that EPA and states should develop interpretive memorandum and permitting guidance: 1) use of diesel fuels in hydraulic fracturing without a valid permit and 2) public chemical disclosure. The report is entitled “Enhanced EPA Oversight and Action Can Further Protect Water Resources from the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing.”

Even though hydraulic fracturing generally is not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the use of diesels fuels in the process of fracking is regulated by the Underground Injection Control program. OIG, however, reviewed various official reports over the last decade and concluded that many wells were hydraulically fractured utilizing diesel fuels without permits. Therefore, OIG recommended EPA and states to address these compliance issues.

As for chemical disclosure, the report urged EPA to decide whether federal regulations on chemical disclosure should be implemented as a response to the public concerns.

More information on hydraulic fracturing regulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act is available at: 

Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow

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