“In what we can only call magical thinking, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today decided safeguards for oil and gas industry waste disposal are “not necessary” under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act Section D (RCRA D). Unfortunately states follow EPA’s lead, to the detriment of communities around the country hosting oil and gas operations.
If hazardous chemicals such as carcinogenic benzene are contained within oil and gas waste, a RCRA loophole requires EPA to legally reclassify it as “non-hazardous”. In response to our lawsuit, a court ordered EPA to formally consider safeguards for these magically, legally “non-toxic” toxic oil and gas wastes.
EPA’s decision today not to issue safeguards means fracking companies can dump these hazardous “non-hazardous” wastes in landfills not designed for them, spread them on roads, and sell them for so-called beneficial uses including pool cleaning salts. And that’s just so much hocus-pocus.” — Earthworks’ Senior Policy Counsel Aaron Mintzes
For More Information
- EPA: Management of Oil and Gas Wastes – 2019 Review
- Earthworks fact sheet: Loopholes for Polluters
- Earthworks white paper: The oil and gas industry’s exemptions and exclusions to major environmental statutes