Alaska official disputes EPA toxic chemical release analysis

NEWS 1130 | February 17, 2020

The Environmental Protection Agency reported Alaska led the nation in 2018 toxic chemical releases. But a state commissioner contends a large portion should not be categorized as toxic. Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune argued that releases caused by unearthed rocks moved at mining sites do not have a significant effect on public health, The Juneau Empire reported Friday. More than 99% of Alaska’s releases, 970.6 million pounds (440.3 million kilograms), were land releases connected to metal mining, Brune said. “Big mines like Red Dog (near Kotzebue) move a significant amount of material as part of their daily operations, but such actions do not adversely impact human health and the environment,” Brune said in a statement. “Characterizing such releases as toxic is disingenuous at best.”

Spotlight

Between 2013 and 2017, drilling companies injected at least one hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) chemical with an identity kept hidden from the public into more than 2,500 unconventional natural gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania, amounting to 55 percent of the more than 4,500 unconventional gas wells drilled in the state during the five-year period, primarily in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. In total, companies injected secret fracking chemicals 13,632 times into 2,515 wells. Exemptions in Pennsylvania law virtually guarantee that the use of secret chemicals in the state’s oil and gas wells was higher than detailed in this report.

Spotlight

Between 2013 and 2017, drilling companies injected at least one hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) chemical with an identity kept hidden from the public into more than 2,500 unconventional natural gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania, amounting to 55 percent of the more than 4,500 unconventional gas wells drilled in the state during the five-year period, primarily in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. In total, companies injected secret fracking chemicals 13,632 times into 2,515 wells. Exemptions in Pennsylvania law virtually guarantee that the use of secret chemicals in the state’s oil and gas wells was higher than detailed in this report.

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