Investigation Reveals 243 Additional Wells Fracked with Diesel in 12 States

Environmental integrity Project and 12 Allied Organizations Ask EPA to Investigate Compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.  October 6, 2014 //  The Environment Integrity Project (EIP) and 12 allied organizations today sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asking the agency to investigate an additional 243 oil and gas wells in 12 states that were hydraulically fractured (fracked) with diesel  fuel over the last three years.

These wells are in addition to the 351 unpermitted wells fracked by 33 companies that EIP identified in its August 13 report, “Fracking Beyond the Law.” To protect drinking water supplies, the injection of diesel without a Safe Drinking Water Act permit is prohibited because diesel contains benzene and other toxic chemicals that can cause cancer or other health problems at very small doses.

The map below shows the locations of oil and gas wells identified to either have been fracked with diesel (blue markers) or products that contain diesel (red markers).

(Disclaimer for map: Well locations were mapped by EIP using the coordinates provided on well operators’ FracFocus disclosures. The accuracy of the locations and data displayed is only as accurate as the disclosed information.) 

EIP’s follow-up investigation and letter to EPA identify 35 companies (10 of which were also listed in the August report) that disclosed the use of fracking fluids containing diesel products to FracFocus, the industry’s self-reporting disclosure database .  All of the wells identified in the letter were fracked between 2011 and August 2014. The largest number of wells in this most recent data set  are located in Texas, West Virginia, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania, with some wells also in located in Virginia, Colorado, Alaska, Arkansas,   Montana, Wyoming, and Louisiana.

“We are writing to respectfully request that EPA work with states and EPA Region 3 to ensure that [Safe Drinking Water Act] permits are issued to all operators who used or plan to use diesel fuels to frack wells and, where warranted, take appropriate action against those who are violating the law,” EIP Senior Managing Attorney Mary Greene wrote to EPA.  Greene urged EPA to make sure that Safe Drinking Water Act permits are issued for any wells that are fracked with diesel.

The allied organizations signing on to EIP’s letter to EPA are Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Citizen Shale, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper, Earthworks, Elected Officials to Protect New York, Environmental Advocates of New York, Natural Resources Defense Council,  PennEnvironment, PennFuture, and San Juan Citizens Alliance.

In the “Fracking Beyond the Law” report, EIP found that many drilling companies were reporting the use of diesel in FracFocus, and then later going back and changing their disclosures to eliminate any references to diesel use.   EIP is asking EPA to look into the cases in which drillers or their contractors altered their disclosures.

“One of the serious problems we are asking EPA to address is the fact that as long as operators and contractors can change disclosures without justification and without leaving any trace of the change…  the data on FracFocus will remain inadequate as a public disclosure system,” Greene wrote to EPA.

EIP is requesting that EPA work with the states, FracFocus, and oil and gas operators, to improve the transparency, accountability, and accuracy of the system for disclosing to the public and regulators what chemicals are used in hydraulic fracturing.

For a copy of the letter to EPA, click here. 

For a spreadsheet with details about the wells, click here.

To read EIP’s August 2014 report, “Fracking Beyond the Law,” click here.

For media inquiries: contact Tom Pelton, Director of Communications, Environmental Integrity Project (202) 888-2703 or