Thursday, January 28, 2010

EPA asks for Citizen's Help to Report Drilling Incidents

(overspray of drilling slurry; photo courtesy of Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeepers)

Like any industry, drilling for natural gas is bound to cause accidents and spills. As the pace of drilling picks up, so too will the corresponding rate of spills and incidents. This is already happening in Pennsylvania, reports ProPublica.

Even the EPA is concerned about the potential for increased spills and illegal disposal of drilling muds, sludge and wastewater. Earlier this week Region 3 announced the creation of a new “Eyes on Drilling” tip line. They created the tip line for citizens to report non-emergency "suspicious activity" related to oil and natural gas development that they observe. Although the announcement came from Region 3, they indicated they'll take calls from people anywhere in the country and act as a clearinghouse for citizen reports.

The toll free tip line number is 1-877-919-4EPA ( 1-877-919-4372) and reports may be e-mailed to . Those who don’t wish to identify themselves may provide tips anonymously.

In some cases a spill or release of hazardous material, including oil, presents an emergency. In those cases people should call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 .

EPA explained that the tip line grew out of "increased public concern about environmental impacts of oil and natural gas drilling" over the past few months. A lot of this concern was particularly focused on the development of Marcellus Shale.
You may read the EPAs press release here .
Tips for how to report suspicious activities are here.

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