Coast Guard Caves to Political Pressure, No Wastewater Barging

Ohio River bargeWhat a major shame and disappointment. The Obama bullies have gotten to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and convinced the once-proud protector of our waterways to withdraw a proposed policy they previously floated in 2013 to allow frack wastewater to be shipped on barges down rivers, like the Ohio. The USCG has officially withdrawn their previously published draft policy–a policy that never went into effect–and says drillers and barge operators can still potentially barge wastewater–but it will be on a case by case basis (they’ve yet to approve a single case). Lots of red tape and hoops to jump through, making it virtually impossible to get a shipment approved. It was one year ago this month that a controversy erupted when GreenHunter Resources said an existing USCG regulation from 1987 already grants them the right to barge produced water–i.e. brine, or the water that comes out of the hole long after frack wastewater or flowback is done coming out. The USCG disagreed (see GreenHunter/Coast Guard War of Words — MDN Explains It). GreenHunter kept up the pressure and said they would begin brine shipments without authorization from the USCG (see GreenHunter to Coast Guard, We’re Barging While You Fiddle Around). It is unclear to MDN whether or not that ever happened–we don’t believe GreenHunter ever did send a brine shipment via barge. What happens now? Can GreenHunter and others potentially barge brine “case by case”?…

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