EPA Expanding CWA (Again), Applies to Shale Drillers re Wastewater

We have mixed emotions about a new rule proposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that further extends the Clean Water Act behemoth by applying it (yet again) to regulating the oil and gas industry. The new rule, titled “Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category” (document number EPA-HQ-OW-2014-0598, full copy below) would prevent untreated frack wastewater from being treated by municipal sewer and water treatment plants. The entire rule is created because once upon a time this sort of thing did happen in Pennsylvania, before then PA DEP Secretary Michael Krancer put a stop to it in 2012 (see PA DEP, Marcellus Shale Coalition Admit Drilling Wastewater Likely Contaminating Drinking Water). The EPA thinks because PA used to do it, there’s nothing to say they might not fall into their old, bad habits and do it again “someday,” so the EPA wants to put a new unvoted-on law in place to prevent it…

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