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Environmental groups sue EPA, demand it stop using fracking wastewater on farmland


(NaturalNews) Several environmental groups have joined forces to file a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to try to put a stop to the practice of using wastewater from fracking on farmland.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, entails injecting large amounts of water into the earth to break up formations of rock and shale so that hard-to-reach natural gas and oil can be extracted more easily.

This technique has noted a large surge in popularity in the years since 2004, yet the regulations put in place by the EPA regarding storing, transporting and disposing of the water contaminated by fracking have not been updated since 1988.

The groups are demanding that the EPA put an end to the use of fracking wastewater on roads and fields as antifreeze, pointing out that it could seep into nearby drinking water sources and contaminate them. They also want to see stronger guidelines issued on the building and maintenance of landfills and ponds where fracking waste is stored, and they are demanding that strict deadlines be set for the adoption of new rules.

Amy Mall of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is one of the plaintiffs involved in the suit, said, "Waste from the oil and gas industry is very often toxic and should be treated that way."

She added, "EPA must step in and protect our communities and drinking water from the carcinogens, radioactive material and other dangerous substances that go hand-in-hand with oil and gas waste."

Fracking is met with controversy everywhere it is used, yet there are very few rules governing its use, which means that the practice is proliferating relatively unchecked, and harming the environment in countless and widespread ways.

In a Stop the Frack Attack rally in 2012, Sierra Club President Allison Chin said: "No state has adequate protections in place. Even where there are rules, they are poorly monitored and enforced. Thanks to the multiple federal exemptions, we can't even count on the federal government to keep us safe."

Heavy metals from fracking linked to cancer

Fracking has been connected to a number of undesirable and downright dangerous effects. A study in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology showed that wastewater from hydraulic fracking contains several heavy metals that contaminate wells and food along with farmland, backing up the allegations in the lawsuit. Five out of six mice that were injected with wastewater from fracking in the study noted significant tumor growth in a short period of time.

Some of the chemicals that have been making their way into drinking water across the country thanks to fracking are formaldehyde, benzene and hydrochloric acid. University of Texas at Arlington researchers discovered heightened levels of arsenic and heavy metals in a number of water wells located in a 1.8-mile range of natural gas drilling at the Barnett Shale.

Because the pollution caused by fracking can travel, those who live anywhere even remotely close to sites of this harmful practice are encouraged to send samples of their water to EPAWatch.org for free testing as party of a nationwide analysis.

Strong connection between fracking and earthquakes

According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) regarding seismic activity caused by unnatural circumstances, more than 7 million Americans could experience an earthquake caused by fracking. USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project Chief Mark Petersen told the Daily Mail,"By including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the US."

Fracking has been linked to earthquakes in several other states, including Texas, Colorado, Ohio, Arkansas, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma, and the lack of strong and regularly enforced regulation could lead to much more damage, not only to the environment but also to human health.

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