Regulation of the mysterious chemicals used in fracking fluid used in drilling for oil and gas has been pretty much off limits to the Environmental Protection Agency ever since Congress in 2005 stripped the EPA of its authority to regulate fracking fluid under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
In a meager win for people who like water, the 2005 loophole at least was supposed to discourage oil companies from fracking with diesel chemicals, which are especially toxic. Because the diesel chemicals weren't included in that special exemption, anyone who wanted to frack with diesel was, in theory, supposed find some other volatile chemical to use instead, or at least ask the EPA for a special permit first. Naturally, that didn't happen, and the EPA missed out on its one exciting chance to regulate fracking fluid, the secret sauce of water and other stuff drillers use in hydraulic fracturing. A 2011 congressional investigation found that companies kept using diesel anyway. The EPA didn't do anything to stop them or clarify its diesel guidelines until recently.
Thanks to all that, a new report now shows that Texas has been collecting quite a lot of diesel in our fracking wells. In fact, we lead the nation in diesel.More »