Group Says Oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico Is Dangerously Polluting the Water

The controversy over “fracking” could be moving off-shore. But the drilling industry says the government’s own analysis found little harm.

By Dave FehlingSeptember 20, 2016 9:30 am| , ,

From Houston Public Media

Fracking means using millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals to bust up rock formations that are holding oil & gas. But what if instead of fracking in West or South Texas, drillers did it in the Gulf of Mexico?

“The Clean Water Act permit allows oil companies to dump fracking chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico which is a serious concern,” says Kristen Monsell, an attorney with a national conservation group, the Center for Biological Diversity.

It says fracking has already been used in the Gulf of Mexico on some 600 wells in recent years. The group says drilling those wells released billions of gallons of polluted water into the Gulf. It’s the “produced water” that comes back up the well during the process and is released. The group says that’s hurting marine life and it’s now asking the Environmental Protection Agency to set a zero discharge limit.

“It would prohibit companies from dumping their wastewater into the Gulf of Mexico. These are extremely toxic chemicals,“ says Monsell.

The drilling industry says this same issue was raised earlier this year off the California coast. The industry points to an analysis done there by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. It concluded there was no significant environmental impact from offshore fracking.