Home Investing News US EPA to review Texas oversight of oil and gas wastewater disposal wells

US EPA to review Texas oversight of oil and gas wastewater disposal wells


By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will review Texas’ oversight of wells used for injecting into the ground wastewater and carbon dioxide related to oil drilling, over “substantial concerns” from environmental groups that they are behind a spate of well blowouts, sinkholes and seismic activity.

The EPA announced the review in a May 23 letter to the environmental groups that was seen by Reuters on Friday.

A spokesperson for the EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nine Texas-based environmental and watchdog groups led by Commission Shift and Clean Water Action requested the review in March.

Texas has authority to permit so-called “Class II” injection wells, which are used to dispose of drilling wastewater as well as for injecting carbon dioxide underground to enhance oil recovery in active fields.

In their petition, the groups urged the U.S. regulator to evaluate whether the Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency that regulates oil production, exploration and transportation, is meeting federal standards under the Safe Drinking Water Act to safeguard public health and the environment.

“We believe that a rigorous and transparent evaluation by the EPA will ultimately lead to stronger protections for our water resources and greater accountability for regulatory practices,” said Virginia Palacios, executive director of Commission Shift.

The Railroad Commission was not immediately available for comment.

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