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January 10, 2017

New EPA Proposal Requires Gas Plants to Publicly Report Toxic Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency recently released a proposal concerning the documentation of toxic chemicals produced by natural gas drilling. Until now, natural gas processing plants did not need to publicly report toxic chemicals that are released into the environment, leaving nearby communities unaware of the potential chemical leaks and deposits that could have significant impact on their water, soil, and the air. The latest proposal focuses on this issue and aims to change how toxic chemicals are reported for the natural gas and oil industry.

The beginnings of this new procedure actually dates back to 2012, when the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) filed a petition asking the EPA to require oil and gas facilities to report their toxic pollution to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Most industries already report their toxic findings and have been for nearly 30 years. The oil and gas industry has always been exempt from this practice.  The EIP, along with nine other partner organizations filed a lawsuit against the EPA in early 2015 to demand response to the petition.

Gas processing plants can release toxic emissions that can have devastating effects on the surrounding environment and people.  Some of the toxic chemicals that will have to be publicly reported are xylene (a chemical that is known to cause headaches, neurological problems, and respiratory problems), formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), and benzene (a known carcinogen tied to acute myelogenous leukemia).  Under these new proposed regulations, up to 444 natural gas processing plants across the United States will have to publicly report and document any toxic substances found to the TRI. This new regulation not only will allow communities to see what the environmental impacts are, but will also allow companies to be aware of their own toxic foot prints.

Damaged or improperly drilled wells can lead to harmful chemical exposure, as well as groundwater contamination that can destroy property values. At Goldberg, Perky & White, P.C. we have experience with many types of personal injury and toxic tort lawsuits. If you believe you have been injured by harmful chemical exposures, contaminated water, or other oil and gas drilling incidents, contact an attorney at GPW for a free, no obligation consultation.

 

Source

Environmental Integrity Project, “EPA Releases Proposed Rule Requiring Natural Gas Processing Plants to Start Reporting Toxic Pollution,” Earthworks (January 6, 2017). [Link]

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