"Congressional Watchdog Urges EPA To Step Up Actions on Fracking"

"The Government Accountability Office is calling on the federal Environmental Protection Agency to step up enforcement of water contamination and seismic activity associated with fracking, the high-pressure injection of fluids into wells to extract oil and natural gas.

In a report made public Monday, the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, found that the EPA's efforts were hindered because the guidance it gives other agencies hasn't been updated since the 1980s. In addition, the GAO said, the EPA lacks the resources needed for enforcement, such as annual on-site evaluations. The issue is important because fracking has been increasing.

'Every day in the United States, at least 2 billion gallons of fluids are injected into over 172,000 wells to enhance oil and gas production, or to dispose of fluids brought to the surface during the extraction of oil and gas resources,' the GAO said. 'These wells are subject to regulation to protect drinking water sources under EPA's UIC class II program and approved state class II programs. Because much of the population relies on underground sources for drinking water, these wells have raised concerns about the safety of the nation's drinking water.' "

Michael Muskal reports for the Los Angeles Times July 28, 2014.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014