The EPA currently allows water used in the hydraulic fracturing process to water livestock and wildlife in western states. The water, which is contaminated with chemicals used in the fracking process, is called “produced water.” Surface disposal of water contaminated with oil and gas drilling chemicals is forbidden in most of the United States, but allowed for “agriculture or wildlife propagation” in the western United States because of drought.
On September 25, 2014, the environmental group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (“PEER”) filed a petition with the EPA over this practice. PEER says that the water quality of fracking wastewater is such that the water should not be sued for agricultural uses. PEER is asking the EPA to propose rules that strengthen the EPA’s oversight of produced water use.
For more information, contact Toni Ellington at (504) 599-8500.