Saturday, July 31, 2021

Anti-Fracking Group Slams EPA For Allowing Toxic Chemicals To Be Used In Drilling - UrduPoint

Anti-Fracking Group Slams EPA For Allowing Toxic Chemicals To Be Used In Drilling

The Better Path Coalition is disturbed about a new watchdog report that found the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowed oil and gas companies to use toxic chemicals during the fracking process, group co-founder Karen Feridun told Sputnik.

The Physicians for Social Responsibility recently published a watchdog report that found oil and gas companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron used PFAS, or substances that can degrade into PFAS, during the fracking process in more than 1,200 wells in six US states, mostly in Texas, between 2012 and 2020.

"We are horrified to learn that the EPA has allowed PFAS chemicals to be used in fracking," Feridun said. "The lack of transparency in reporting here in Pennsylvania means we don't know if they're used here... The best approach is to ban their use outright."

The watchdog report said, citing EPA records, that there has been a lack of full disclosure of chemicals used in oil and gas operations in the United States, which raises concerns that PFAS could have been used more extensively than records indicate because oil and gas companies withheld that information.

Confidential business information or trade secret claims may hide the identity and effects of chemicals used for fracking, the report said.

On July 21, the House of Representatives passed the 2021 PFAS Action Act with a 241-183 vote. The legislation would require the EPA to set drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS, the two most studied PFAS chemicals, and would designate these as "hazardous substances" under the Superfund program to facilitate the cleanup of toxic sites.

"We're happy that the Biden administration has prioritized the PFAS issue, but none of their actions to date change anything about PFAS' use in fracking," Feridun said.

Feridun said meaningful change can only come when the Federal government scraps the Bentsen amendment, which exempts drilling fluids and other waste related to oil and natural gas production from the regulatory definition of hazardous waste.

The watchdog report pointed out that the US House Energy and Commerce Committee found that 12 oil and gas companies that conduct hydraulic fracturing were unable to provide the Committee with a complete chemical makeup of the hydraulic fracking fluids they used.

Between 2005 and 2009, the companies used 94 million gallons of 279 products that contained at least one chemical or component that the manufacturers deemed proprietary or a trade secret.

The environmental group food and Water Watch, citing studies, said long-term exposure to PFAS has been linked to liver malfunction, thyroid disease, weakened immune system, birth defects, and certain cancers. The group said more than 200 million people in the United States would be drinking PFAS-contaminated water.

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