The Digital Polarization Initiative

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Claim: EPA to continue allowing unlimited fracking waste to be dumped in the Gulf of Mexico

Status: Under Investigation


Summary: In June 2016 the Center for Biological Diversity issued a press release subtitled Documents Show Billions of Gallons of Oil Waste Fluid Dumped Into Gulf Waters. Two days later, Courthouse News quoted the Center's attorney, Kristen Monsell: “The Obama administration is essentially letting oil companies frack at will in Gulf ecosystems and dump billions of gallons of oil waste into coastal waters.” In the fall of 2016 the claim appeared in USA Today and on


Issues and Analysis

How much fracking wastewater is being discharged into the Gulf?

The Center for Biological Diversity saysOil companies were also allowed to dump about 76 billion gallons of waste fluid into Gulf waters in 2014” and cites, but does not link to, supporting documents. The phrase “76 billion gallons of waste fluid” was picked up widely by other sources.

The Times-Picayunereports that number to be an estimate based on an analysis of federal wastewater discharge permits.

Courthouse News says “The center in turn shared the data obtained with [us].” Their link points to a set of PDFs entitled Application for Permit to Modify/Revise (APM/RPM) –a type of permit ( governed by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – and containing rows of data that appear to enumerate more detailed documents:

Lease, API,          # Pages, Date

00060, 177114034902, 37,      20-Aug-14

00060, 177114034902, 16,      5-Aug-1

Do those detailed docs contain information about quantities of fracking wastewater released into the Gulf?

Can the Center for Biological Diversity cite or provide them?

What are the EPA-defined limits?

According to this 2012 EPA Fact Sheet, apparently none.

Who has challenged the EPA to impose limits?

What is the current status?

digipo/analysis/gulf_of_frackwater.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/13 11:56 by judell