Here’s a sample of how Citizen Suits are being used across the country. The big environmental laws — they all have citizen suit provisions. I think it’s going to be a very valuable tool for people to get the Oil Companies to clean up South Texas. Local politicians need to study up on this stuff! A lot of oilfield stuff is exempt from certain federal regulations.
CLICK TO SEE WHAT IS AND IS NOT EXEMPT
Don’t worry, there are Texas metal levels referred to as TRRP — and oilfield waste is NOT exempt from them.
There’s more including a link to a PDF “Guide to Citizen Suit”
Flashback to the Andy Griffith show and Jim Nabors saying, “Ci-ta-sins ah-rey-ust!”
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
- Web |
- More Posts(5117)
Malulo Numero Uno says
Hi, Rancho Los Malulos here – I have updated my post to be more accurate. The oilfield exemptions are not included in other laws. One useful one in our area is the TRRP metal levels. We have a lot of mercury and chromium contamination. Mercury from the gas stream and Chromium from the pre 1972 corrosion inhibitors that were used. I believe that TRRP levels are established by CERCLA. If people are interested, they can google CERCLA, TRRP, etc.
Testing for metals is cheap. $70 for the whole TRRP regulated group. $25 for mercury. It’s really worth looking for those in contaminated areas.
TXS: I haven’t figured all this out yet because it’s a maze of laws emeshed with exemptions. By regulatory fiat, courtesy of this past administration, produced waste water and drilling fluids, if used in the “production” process (preparing the pad, drilling, etc), are exempt (as I understand it) from regulation under the RCRA, as well as a myriad of other federal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act. No NPDES permit is required, as I understand, for drilling activities. This exemption was challenged by the NRDC in California; it prevailed. But, other circuits (i.e., states), have paid no need to the decision. Further, as I understand, States, under the EPA regulatory system, tend to follow what the feds do (for example, Louisiana–if it’s exempted under fed regulations, then the state turns around and makes the same exemption).
Concerned NWLa landowner.
TXS: As a concerned l/o in NW La, I started looking into this months ago. Courtesy of regulatory fiat under this past administration, the EPA granted the O&G industry and its inevitable drilling wastes sweeping exemption from regulation as "hazardous waste" under a myriad of federal laws/regulations, including RCRA, CWA, CERCLA. No NPDES permit required for drill site, per the stroke of a regulator's pen (which pen probably was bought and paid for by Halliburton). NRDC (National Resource Defense Council) challenged this exemption in the 9th Circuit out west and prevailed, but the rest of the nation seemingly to date has ignored the appellate court ruling. I'm no expert and I'm still trying to figure the morass of federal laws/regulations and the purported "interplay" (i.e., secession of autonomy to the states over many of these problems), but another aspect of the regulatory gaping holes is that states like Louisiana view the federal regulations as a "maximum" limit on regulatory authority, which flat out is false, as testified to by the O&G reps before Congress in lobbying to maintain and to garner MORE federal exemptions from regulation of O&G activities and by-products.
A concerned l/o in NW La,
Kate, we will have to figure this deal out together. I’m going to send this information to a couple of lawyers I know and somee other people next time I’m in front of a computer with an internet connection (I’m using my smart phone now).
NM and CO have passed state laws that do a much better job of regulating oil and gas activities in their states despite the sorry federal laws. We need to do the same in our states but TX is still under a Republican stranglehold and that makes it almost impossible to get anything meaningful passed.