Groups Urge TRI Reporting on Oil and Gas Extraction

February 19, 2014

A coalition of environmental and public-interest groups is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to close loopholes that keep toxic releases from the oil and gas extraction industry out of the critically important Toxics Release Inventory.

The TRI is the foundation of many higher-level databases describing the potential impact of toxic chemicals on U.S. residents and their environment. The oil and gas industry is not currently required to report toxic emissions from certain smaller operations — such as wells — because they do not fit EPA's definition of a TRI "facility."

Fourteen groups, led by the Environmental Integrity Project, have petitioned EPA to require oil and gas extraction facilities to report under TRI. That petition is still pending.

Meanwhile, the groups compiled and released data showing that oil and gas extraction facilities in just six states (Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming) emitted some 8.5 million tons of toxic chemicals yearly. Such facilities exist in many other states also.

The groups released the actual data they compiled (often from state sources) in downloadable and searchable form.