|(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)|
|ALLGOV | Aug 18, 2014 | Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley|
More than 30 drilling companies have been caught breaking federal environmental laws by using diesel fuel in their fracking operations, according to a new report.
Using information compiled by industry, the Environmental Integrity Project discovered that 33 drillers had used diesel fuels in at least 351 wells, and in the process, violated the Safe Drinking Water Act over a four-year period from 2010 to 2014.
Furthermore, about 30% of the companies tried to hide their use of the fuel by changing their filings, which went into an industry-run database, FracFocus.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, drillers are required to obtain permits if they wish to inject diesel fuel into underground wells. They also have to notify nearby residents of their plans and perform other mandated reporting procedures.
“What’s problematic is that this is an industry that is self-reporting and self-policing,” Mary Greene, senior managing attorney for Environmental Integrity Project, told ProPublica. “There’s no federal or state oversight of [filings with FracFocus].”
The report said the use of diesel in fracking is probably underreported because of well operators’ claims of trade secrets, companies such as Halliburton produciing fracking fluids containing diesel that might not be disclosed to operators, and other reasons.
Use of diesel fuels in fracking is discouraged because it contains cancer-causing chemicals like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, which can easily pollute groundwater supplies.