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February 28th, 2011:

Regulation Lax as Gas Wells' Tainted Water Hits Rivers

American Energy Coalition - February 28th, 2011

Dangers to the environment from gas drilling are greater than previously understood, according to the New York Times. Gas producers are rushing to extract natural gas from underground shale formations, but the drilling of each well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself. Thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health have been under-reported. The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle. Other documents and interviews show that many E.P.A. scientists are alarmed, warning that the drilling waste is a threat to drinking water in Pennsylvania. (Read More)

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