Industry Critique of EIP Fracking Report is Factually Wrong


… In response to the Environmental Integrity Project’s August 13, 2014, report, “Fracking Beyond the Law,” some drilling industry advocates have been asserting that our results are misleading because kerosene was not considered a form of diesel fuel until February 2014, when EPA issued its final guidance on the use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing.

This is not true.  Kerosene has long been known by the industry and regulators as a type of diesel fuel.  Drilling industry material safety data sheets commonly identify kerosene as a trade name for No. 1 diesel fuel.  To read examples of these industry data sheets, click here or here.  Numerous other examples are available online.

In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s February 2014 guidance on diesel fuel states (on page 5) that kerosene is a “common synonym” for marine diesel fuel.

In May 2012, EPA issued draft guidance on the use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This 2012  draft guidance also said that “diesel fuels” include products or ingredients identified by one of six Chemical Abstracts Services Registry Numbers (CASRNs or CAS) or their associated common synonyms, including kerosene, kerosine, distillates, and light distillate fuel oils.

The  federal Toxic Substance Control Act also says that kerosene meets the definition of diesel fuel under the law.  At least since 1986, the Toxic Substance Control Act Inventory has said that diesel should be defined as hydrocarbons having carbon numbers predominantly in the range of C9 through C20 and boiling in the range of approximately 163 ˚C to 357 ˚C (325 ˚F to 675 ˚F).  This includes kerosene.

In response to the “Fracking Beyond the Law” report, an industry trade publication also claimed that “there has never been a single case of water contamination from hydraulic fracturing.”

This is also not factually correct.   On July 22, 2014, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cited Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection data indicating that fracking has “damaged” public water supplies 209 times since the end of 2007.

In addition, there is evidence that drinking water wells were contaminated by drilling and fracking in Dimock, Pennsylvania, and Pavillion, Wyoming.   In Clarington, Ohio, a multi-day fire and up to 30 explosions from a fracking-related mishap on a well site owned by Statoil happened on June 28, 2014 and involved at least 16 different fracking products (including 9,000 gallons of diesel). In addition to potential impact to drinking water supplies, approximately 70,000 fish were killed (as far as three and a half miles downstream) as a result of the uncontained chemicals and well flowback.