EPA, diesel, fracking, and transparency: a clarification.
By Lauren Pagel
January 28, 2011
Last week, I blogged about the EPA using its authority under the 2005 Energy Policy Act to regulate the use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing, and used a Greenwire story published in the New York Times on the issue to highlight the issue.
While the EPA is within its authority under current law to regulate the use of diesel in fracking as part of the current regulations for Class II wells under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), I do feel that the EPA could have gone about its announcement around this issue in a way that was more transparent.
By adding language to their website without an official announcement, the EPA kept the public and industry in the dark about something that did not and should not have been kept a secret.
It would have been in the public interest (and would have created far less controversy) if the EPA had created a participatory process with a public announcement regarding the regulation of diesel fuel used for hydraulic fracturing.
It would also have been in the public interest for the EPA to have begun to deal with this issue back in 2005 when the Energy Policy Act was passed and their regulatory authority to regulate this practice was made clear.
We may never know how much diesel was injected underground during the fracking process without permits and without the public (or EPA's) knowledge. But, we can move forward with a sensible regulatory program to make sure that diesel fuel does not damage our drinking water resources moving forward.