According to a new report by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. government has allowed corporations to dump millions of gallons of hazardous waste into the Gulf of Mexico “indefinitely,” threatening to wildlife and public health.
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As “severe” fossil fuel extraction methods such as fracking and acidizing have become more common in overseas oil and gas production over the past decade, the U.S. government has allowed corporations to release millions. -millions of gallons of hazardous waste in the Gulf of Mexico “without borders.”
That’s in line with “Toxic Waters: How Offshore Fracking Pollutes the Gulf of Mexico”, a new report published this month by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).
“A decade of influx overseas, officials have yet to study the effects on public health,” Miyoko Sakashita, director of the CBD’s marine program, SAYS in a statement. “The lack of control over this pollution tree is staggering and unacceptable.”
CBD scientists and policy experts compiled the report by analyzing industry documents, peer-reviewed studies, publicly available data, and federally authorized records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. .
CBD explained that fracking “Water and chemicals explode under the sea to break up the rock and release oil and gas,” while “acidizing injects hydrofluoric or hydrochloric acid to carve out passages in the rock walls and release the fossil fuels. “
Since nearly 98% of all oil and gas production outside the United States occurs in federal offshore waters in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, the report calls that area “ground zero for offshore fracking and threats to wildlife and public health. ”
Even if an industry report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reveals that “each frack releases about 21,480 gallons of fracking waste, including biocides, polymers and solvents, into the Gulf of Mexico,” CBD noticed, the EPA allows companies to dump “unlimited amounts” of toxic products into the Gulf.
While the hazards and harmful effects of certain fracking chemicals are well known, more than three-fourths of the ingredients used in fracks “have not been studied for their effects “on human health and the environment, according to CBD.
As a result, the report’s authors write, “Gulf communities and ecosystems are experiencing a heavy burden of pollution from concentrated fossil fuel infrastructure and are unable to carry further pollution by fracking. “
Key findings of the companion report:
- The federal government has approved fracking more than 3,000 times and acidified at least 700 times since 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico alone, with no meaningful environmental management or review.
- With no limit to toxic compliance, oil companies dump at least 66.3 million gallons of fracking fluid, which contains many substances known to be toxic to both humans and wildlife, into the Gulf. from 2010 to 2020.
- Chemicals used in offshore fracking and acidizing pose significant health risks to humans and wildlife, including reproductive damage, neurotoxicity, cancer and even death.
- Severe oil and gas extraction has exacerbated the climate crisis.
- The fossil fuel industry has hurt tourism and fisheries, creating nearly 2.85 million jobs – more than 10 times the jobs created by the fossil fuel industry in the Gulf of Mexico – and providing additional tax revenue.
- State and federal agencies have failed to adequately monitor and control fracking and acidizing.
According to the CBD, offshore fracking is a “natural hazard,” which is why the report argues that “state and federal agencies have banned the use of harsh oil and gas techniques and stopped issuing permits for offshore. fracking and acidizing. “
“They should also immediately stop allowing oil companies to release toxic chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico,” the authors write.
In addition, the report says, “because fracking and acidification extend the lifespan of oil and gas production abroad and increase production, allowing these methods to be inconsistent. in the national interest in responding to the climate crisis.
Sakashita stressed that “overseas fracking endangers Gulf communities and wildlife beyond what our government recognizes.”
“In order to protect life and our climate,” he added, “we prohibit excessive extraction methods.”
Originally published on Common Dreams.