Tens of Thousands Urge Obama Administration to Reject Proposal to Ship Fracking Waste Down Nation’s Rivers

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – Today Environment America is delivering more than 29,000 public comments to the U.S. Coast Guard urging them to reject a policy proposal that would allow barging of waste water produced from fracking operations down the nation’s rivers and waterways.

Fracking, a dangerous form of oil and gas drilling, creates toxic wastewater often laced with cancer causing chemicals and even radioactive material. An Environment America Research & Policy Center report earlier this year estimated that 280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater was created in 2012 alone from the nation’s fracking operations – enough to flood the entire city of Washington, DC in 22 feet of toxic sludge.

“This is just the latest outrage from fracking companies. Think about it: Filling barges with thousands of barrels of toxic wastewater and sending them down a river that provides the drinking water for millions of people? You can see why people are concerned,” said Courtney Abrams, Clean Water Program Director for Environment America. “Environment America is delivering more than 29,000 comments from concerned citizens across the country calling on President Obama and the Coast Guard to reject this outrageous proposal that would put our waterways at risk.”

The U.S. Coast Guard submitted their proposal on Oct. 30, with a minimal environmental review that excluded examining significant cumulative impacts to the environment, and offering only a short 30-day public comment period. Given the public interest in the issue, the Coast Guard accepted comments for an additional week, through today, Dec. 6.

Though the total number of comments submitted is still being tallied as more come in throughout the day, groups working on the issue estimate that the Coast Guard will receive more than 60,000 comments asking the Coast Guard to rethink this proposal. The more than 29,000 delivered by Environment America directly ask the president to reject the proposal.

“Accidents and spills do happen. Just last week, a boat carrying 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel and oil sank in the Mississippi River , said Abrams. “An accident or spill of fracking wastewater on one of our major rivers would be devastating to drinking water and an area’s aquatic life.”

Environment America is working across the country to ban fracking, given the myriad threats to our environment and health.

“We are calling for an end to fracking to protect our environment and people’s health,” concluded Abrams. “In addition, the president should reject this latest dangerous proposal right now in order to keep toxic fracking waste off our nation’s rivers.”