When Congress considered whether to regulate more closely the handling of wastes from oil and gas drilling in the 1980s, it turned to the Environmental Protection Agency to research the matter. E.P.A. researchers concluded that some of the drillers’ waste was hazardous and should be tightly controlled.
But that is not what Congress heard. Some of the recommendations concerning oil and gas waste were eliminated in the final report handed to lawmakers in 1987.
“It was like the science didn’t matter,” Carla Greathouse, the author of the study, said in a recent interview. “The industry was going to get what it wanted, and we were not supposed to stand in the way.”
On March the Province of Québec published a report recommending a moratorium on all shale gas “frakking” pending a review of the risks: “The provincial government announced the decision Tuesday just minutes after an environmental assessment board called for a full evaluation of potential risks involved in the drilling and extraction of natural gas from the shale rock formation near populated areas along the Saint-Lawrence River” according to the Globe and Mail (click here) the CBC (click here).
This brought the usual denialist trolls but it also resulted in several other studies describing just how risky the procedure is. For example:
Pressure Limits Efforts to Police Drilling for Gas (from the NYTimes and cited above)
The B.C. government isn’t asking many questions about a natural-gas-drilling technique involving toxic compounds.
Gwen Johansson lives in what used to be idyllic surroundings a few kilometres west of Fort St. John in B.C.’s northeast. Lately, though, the tranquillity of her home overlooking the placid Peace River has been shattered by an intrusive flow of traffic. Often operating around the clock, heavy-bodied tanker trucks pull off Highway 29 and line up at the riverbank to drop in thick hoses and gun high-volume pumps that suck up thousands of litres of water in just a few minutes. “They’re hauling out of there day and night,” Johansson told the Georgia Straight by phone, “one loading, two more waiting. You can see the amount of water that’s going out.”