EPA Plans to Permit Dumping of Fracking Wastewater in Gulf of Mexico

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal that would allow oil companies to dump unlimited amounts of fracking chemicals and wastewater directly into the Gulf of Mexico is drawing opposition from environmentalists—including the Center for Biological Diversity—on the grounds that the draft plan is in violation of federal law, Mike Ludwig reported for Truthout in September 2016.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, fracking chemicals and waster water are hazardous to water quality and marine wildlife, especially sea turtles. In a press release, the Center reported that studies cited by the EPA to justify its plan are, in fact, outdated. “The agency is relying on more than 30-year-old data to estimate the volume of produced water to be discharged.” The Center for Biological Diversity notes that, from 2010-2014, oil companies were permitted to frack more than 1,200 times from more than 600 wells. The oil and gas companies are only required to test the water quality a couple times a year. Because they control when tests are undertaken, the figures they report are not reliable.

As Mike Ludwig reports, attorneys for the Center argue that “finalizing the draft permit as it stands would be a violation of the Clean Water Act.” Under the EPA’s current and draft permits, offshore drillers are allowed to dump unlimited amounts of fracking chemicals so long as they are mixed with the wastewater that returns from undersea wells.

The draft permit prohibits dumping of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and there is a new rule being put into place that gas operators must now keep an inventory of all the hazardous fracking chemicals on board. The last inventory recorded on these fracking chemicals was 15 years ago.

“It’s the EPA’s job to protect water quality from offshore fracking, not rubberstamp the dumping of the wastewater from this dangerous, disgusting practice,” according to Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.


Mike Ludwig, “EPA Plans to Allow Unlimited Dumping of Fracking Wastewater in the Gulf of Mexico,” Truthout, September 22, 2016, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37710-epa-plans-to-allow-unlimited-dumping-of-fracking wastewater-in-the-gulf-of-mexico.

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