Energy. Environment. Economy.

EPA Issues New Guidelines on Fracking with Diesel Fuel

The EPA has proposed new guidelines for states on issuing permits to drillers who use diesel fuel as a component in fracking oil and natural gas wells. The EPA is forbidden from regulating fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act, unless it involves the use of diesel fuel.
“The draft guidance outlines for EPA permit writers, where EPA is the permitting authority, requirements for diesel fuels used for hydraulic fracturing wells, technical recommendations for permitting those wells, and a description of diesel fuels for EPA underground injection control permitting. The draft guidance describes diesel fuels for these purposes by reference to six chemical abstract services registry numbers. The agency is requesting input on this description.”
Soon after the EPA made that announcement, environmental groups issued statements demanding the EPA ban diesel fuel from fracking operations.


  • David Meiser

    Environmental Groups Call on EPA to Ban Diesel Use in Fracking
    Washington, D.C. — National environmental groups today called on the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ fluids, instead of issuing guidance for regulating the practice, following the agency’s release of draft guidance. Diesel is currently used in fracking chemical cocktails and poses serious risks to drinking water sources. EPA guidance is not enough to protect families from benzene and other highly toxic chemicals contaminating underground drinking water sources.
    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in the Halliburton Loophole—except when diesel is used. Recent Congressional investigations revealed diesel use in fracking fluids remains widespread. This EPA action provides guidance for using the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control Program to protect underground sources of drinking water. The EPA announced a 60-day public comment period on the proposal.
    The use of diesel in fracking fluid is just one of many harmful industry practices that the government must clean up. Strong federal protections are needed to protect American families nationwide from all of the consequences of dirty fracking.
    In response leaders from the environmental organizations calling for a ban on diesel used in fracking, released the following statements:
    “It’s no secret that diesel is dirty and dangerous, and belongs nowhere near our drinking water. But the natural gas industry has been using this dangerous fuel for fracking, showing once again that they cannot be trusted to police themselves. We urge the EPA to ban diesel fracking and keep Americans’ drinking water clean and safe.” - Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club

    • Jonathan Lew

      as long as the fracking water does not contaminate the surface or water sources its irrelvant whether diesel, or mineral oil or propane is used. The fluids are being injected into areas which contain all sorts of nasty heavy carbon breakdown products. Water down there not drinkable being full of salts, minerals and hydrocarbin contaminants. What needs to be promoted is proper handling of fracking waste water and quality control of the well itself to ensure casings are preventing leakage into potable ground water reservoirs.

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