Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Hundreds of Offshore Fracking Wells Dump Billions of Gallons of Oil Waste Into Gulf

Popular

By Andy Rowell

As the U.S. shale industry comes under increasing scrutiny for its environmental and health impact, it has emerged that the U.S. has approved fracking offshore leading to billions of gallons of wastewater to be dumped at sea.

The Center for Biological Diversity has released federal documents that reveal that officials approved more than 1,200 offshore fracks in 630 different wells in the four years from 2010 to 2014 in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf of Mexico has already been suffering from decades of conventional oil and gas drilling as well as the aftermath of the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010, when millions of gallons of oil were spilt.

The newly released documents reveal that fracking occurred off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama with no public involvement and with no site-specific tests undertaken beforehand.

In so doing, the industry was also allowed to dump a staggering 76 billion gallons of waste fluid into the sea in 2014 alone.

There is real reason to be worried by this dumping. Over the last 18 months there has been growing concern about fracking chemicals contained within fracking wastewater.

Just over a year ago, the UK-based CHEM Trust issued a report and briefing paper on how toxic chemicals from fracking could affect wildlife and people.

The report identified specific examples of hazardous materials used in fracking, including chemicals "associated with leukemia in humans" and "toxic to sperm production in males."

The trust warned it is "particularly concerned about the use of hormone-disrupting chemicals" commonly known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

And then last October new research found that fracking chemicals are linked with a decreased sperm count in adulthood. Finally, in April this year, a new scientific study found high levels of 16 endocrine disruptors in samples taken near a fracking site.

And now it seems fracking wastewater has been dumped at sea without anyone's knowledge or oversight. "Fracking has largely been in a shroud of secrecy," Miyoko Sakashita, the oceans director at Center for Biological Diversity, said, before adding "It is a dangerous activity that has no place in our oceans or the Gulf of Mexico."

According to Sakashita, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) "didn't really know what chemicals—and still doesn't know what chemicals—are being discharged into the Gulf of Mexico," which is a damning verdict on the U.S. regulator. "When I first called EPA … they basically responded to me that they don't keep track of [wastewater dumping] and they don't know," Sakashita said.

"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," adds Kristen Monsell, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney. "Every offshore frack increases the risk to wildlife and coastal communities, yet federal officials have been just rubber-stamping this toxic practice in the Gulf of Mexico for years."

The lawyer added that the U.S. government "hasn't really studied it before, they haven't studied the impact of the chemicals that these companies are allowed to dump directly into the ocean including critical habitat and fracking-endangered species."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Women walk from Santa Monica beach after a social media workout on the sand on May 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Independence Day weekend is a busy time for coastal communities as people flock to the beaches to soak up the sun during the summer holiday. This year is different. Some of the country's most popular beach destinations in Florida and California have decided to close their beaches to stop the surge in coronavirus cases.

Read More Show Less
Daily fireworks in many U.S. cities in recent weeks have no doubt been interfering with the sleep and peace of mind of thousands of veterans and others who suffer from PTSD. Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Arash Javanbakht

For some combat veterans, the Fourth of July is not a time to celebrate the independence of the country they love. Instead, the holiday is a terrifying ordeal. That's because the noise of fireworks – loud, sudden, and reminiscent of war – rocks their nervous system. Daily fireworks in many U.S. cities in recent weeks have no doubt been interfering with the sleep and peace of mind of thousands of veterans.

Read More Show Less
Koala populations across parts of Australia are on track to become extinct before 2050 unless "urgent government intervention" occurs. Mathias Appel / Flickr

Koala populations across parts of Australia are on track to become extinct before 2050 unless "urgent government intervention" occurs, warns a year-long inquiry into Australia's "most loved animal." The report published by the Parliament of New South Wales (NSW) paints a "stark and depressing snapshot" of koalas in Australia's southeastern state.

Read More Show Less
NASA is advancing tools like this supercomputer model that created this simulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to better understand what will happen to Earth's climate if the land and ocean can no longer absorb nearly half of all climate-warming CO2 emissions. NASA/GSFC

By Jeff Berardelli

For the past year, some of the most up-to-date computer models from the world's top climate modeling groups have been "running hot" – projecting that global warming may be even more extreme than earlier thought. Data from some of the model runs has been confounding scientists because it challenges decades of consistent projections.

Read More Show Less
A child stands in what is left of his house in Utuado, Puerto Rico, which was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Maria, on Oct. 12, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios. Flickr, CC by 2.0
By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

To hear many journalists tell it, the spring of 2020 has brought a series of extraordinary revelations. Look at what the nation has learned: That our health-care system was not remotely up to the challenge of a deadly pandemic. That our economic safety net was largely nonexistent. That our vulnerability to disease and death was directly tied to our race and where we live. That our political leadership sowed misinformation that left people dead. That systemic racism and the killing of Black people by police is undiminished, despite decades of protest and so many Black lives lost.
Read More Show Less
President Trump's claim last September that Hurricane Dorian was headed for Alabama's gulf coast was quickly refuted by employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). An independent investigation found that NOAA's chief violated the agency's ethics when he backed Trump's warning and doctored map that used a Sharpie to alter the storm's path, as EcoWatch reported.
Read More Show Less

Trending

African bush elephants in the Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve in Botswana on Nov. 22, 2016. Michael Jansen / Flickr

More than 350 elephants have died in Botswana since May, and no one knows why.

Read More Show Less