Finally, possibly feeling some sting from the thrashing given it recently by Pennsylvania’s Auditor General, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) has done a little tiny something.
They have issued one (one!) Notice of Violation to Range Resources, one of the most polluting fracking companies known to Pennsylvania and Texas combined. Apparently, the persistent leaks from Range’s fracking wastewater impoundments became too much for even DEP to continue to overlook.
PA DEP’s response to constant leaks from the open pits DEP itself has approved to hold fracking flowback, is dismally understated. The pits typically contain biocides, carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, toxic levels of salt, and radioactive materials — a combination of toxic materials used in drilling and fracking, and naturally occurring materials from deep underground, such as the intense salt and the Radium 226.
If DEP was to uphold its mission to protect our ecosystem, thereby protecting public health, all open fracking flowback pits lined with plastic would be banned. Closed-loop systems would be required, and a moratorium would be put into place instead of one more impoundment being approved.
But the industry, PA DEP, and the EPA have failed to ban fracking flowback pits. The impoundments leak constantly in Pennsylvania and pose long-term risks even where acute impacts are not immediately observed. Due to this and other failures, the pressure to stop fracking Pennsylvania is again on the rise.