Here are the bills scheduled for a hearing today in the Energy Resources Committee. The meeting starts at 2:00 pm today so you need to weigh in before then.
HB 497 Wu – Relating to the applicability of the law governing saltwater pipeline facilities located in the vicinity of public roads.
HB 1184 Paddie – Relating to authorizing certain alternative fuel programs as eligible for local government energy savings performance contracts.
This bill gives financial incentive for natural gas vehicles. I oppose this bill.
HB 1331 King, Phil – Relating to the treatment and recycling for beneficial use of certain waste arising out of or incidental to the drilling for or production of oil or gas.
This bill is a get-out-of-jail-free card to operators that produce drilling waste. Here are my thoughts about this bill:
Chemicals used in production of oil and gas are shipped to the site in containers with hazard labels. Yet, because of loopholes in our federal environmental laws, the waste that contains those same chemicals is exempt from treatment as hazardous waste.
Despite the loophole, the EPA says oil and gas waste could present a hazard to human health. http://www.epa.gov/
osw/nonhaz/industrial/special/ oil/oil-gas.pdfIn addition, although they are relieved from regulation as hazardous wastes, the exemption does not mean these wastes could not present a hazard to human health and the environment if improperly managed
It is difficult for scientists to fully assess the hazards of this waste because some of the chemicals used are closely guarded trade secrets, which exempts them from disclosure. Science is just now figuring out what the waste contains.
“There is a huge diversity of chemicals in the produced water,” Luek says. “We have identified more than 10,000 mass spec peaks, which can be assigned more than 2,500 chemical formulas.”
This article from Chemical and Engineering News has an annotated list of what scientist have found in waste. http://cen.acs.org/
Before we give the operators that produce this waste a free pass from responsibility and before we can call future use of the waste “beneficial”, we need to know what is in it and how much there is.
Please do not pass this bill out of committee.
Update: The committee is going to work on King’s bill. One concern is to make sure the company taking the waste is a legitimate company. The Railroad Commission representative said the companies would be permitted but we know how closely that agency watches. One man gave testimony about how his company treats the waste and, I have to admit, it sounded impressive.
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.
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