- SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:Visibility:
We told you so. But now a Harvard study also says it: the FracFocus registry designed and operated by the drilling industry (and its close friends) fails to meet the public's right to accountability and complete disclosure of chemicals pumped into underground formations that may impact people's drinking-water wells.
- SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:
- SEJ Publication Types:
Interested in water quality at the local and watershed level? Not only does the multi-agency "Water Quality Portal" offer large amounts of measurements of water quality in specific lakes and streams — but EPA is offering free training on how to use it via a Webinar.
EPA bowed to industry, ruling in a January 3, 2013 memo that local drinking water utilities no longer have to notify their customers of contamination in writing. "The memo fails to set clear standards for electronic notification and delivery and makes it likely that segments of the public will have less access to these reports," the Center for Effective Government wrote in response to the EPA memo.
A geeky nonprofit watchdog group has done what government and private industry have failed to do; the group, SkyTruth, has made data about the ingredients in fracking fluid easily accessible to the public.
The gas industry won itself an exemption from disclosure requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005. But now environmentalists have a new angle, claiming EPA has authority to compel disclosure under a different law (the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act) — and urging EPA to use it.
Fifteen environmental and public health groups say EPA had not allowed sufficient time for public review, only put relevant information into its docket at the last minute, and emphasized easing a "burden" utilities had lived with for years at the expense of protecting the public.
Some utilities want to get rid of the requirement — substituting online notification, even for water customers who lack Internet connections. A legislative effort to ease the notification requirement failed in the Senate in summer 2012. Now EPA is starting procedures which might lead to doing the same thing by rulemaking. Deadline for comments is October 11, 2012.