US groups call for toxic release report on fracking

US environmental groups will be submitting a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today to require toxic chemical release reporting for the oil and gas extraction industry. The Environmental […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

US environmental groups will be submitting a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today to require toxic chemical release reporting for the oil and gas extraction industry.

The Environmental Integrity Project said it will join 16 other local and national organisations in Washington to call for extraction process like fracking to be included in the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).

The TRI is a database containing reports on the disposal and releases of more than 650 toxic chemicals from thousands of firms across the US. The information is expected to help communities plan for their future, lawmakers to assess the effectiveness of and need for environmental controls and enables the firms to review and reduce their toxic releases.

Currently, manufacturers, miners and utilities are required to report chemical releases every year but oil and gas exploration is largely excluded. The groups will argue the “loophole for the oil and gas extraction industry makes no sense, given the huge amounts of toxic chemicals involved that have only increased with the rapid rise of fracking”.

They claim the process of gas extraction, which injects water, sand and chemicals underground, makes it even more important for the industry to disclose chemical releases as the environmental and public health risks are not known. This could include air pollution, drinking water contamination and discharges to rivers and streams.

The petition will be unveiled during a news conference today.