Oil and gas fracking continue to spread through the state of Oklahoma turning a nice profit for residents and shareholders but a new report commissioned by the Clean Water Fund has found that several oil and gas wastewater wells could be injecting into drinking water supplies, while private water wells may also be “overlapping with wastewater disposal wells permitted by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC),” reports Samantha Page.

“It’s disturbing that the OCC may have permitted oil and gas wells to inject directly into potential drinking water sources, and that the agency can’t accurately point to where the drinking water is located,” John Noël, lead author of the report, said in a statement.

The OCC is the agency that is supposed to protect Oklahomans’ drinking water from the ongoing activites of oil and gas production but they don’t seem to have accurate information on the state’s many thousands of injection wells they have permitted.

Oklahoma is one of many states that have taken over the state’s underground injection control (UIC) program from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

“On Thursday, Democratic representatives introduced a suite of bills that would require oil and gas companies to abide by same rules as other industries and to disclose the chemicals they use in fracking, which are known to include benzene, a carcinogen,” says Page.

Is this what Pruitt, as head of the EPA, now has in mind for the rest of the nation? It’s clear that state lawmakers are not always committed to providing the budget nor the oversight to protect the water supply and to ensure the health and well-being of all their residents. Flint, Michigan and Oklahoma are just two recent examples of Republican malfeasance at the state level and why we need strong federal oversight now more than ever.

-Danielle Bizzarro

 

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