Tags: fracking | loophole | pump | benzene | ground

Fracking Loophole Lets Benzene Be Pumped Into the Ground

By    |   Friday, 24 October 2014 08:11 AM

A fracking loophole has allowed oil and gas drillers to pump benzene – a known carcinogen – into the ground.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported that drillers are required to obtain permits to use diesel as a hydraulic fracturing agent because it contains known carcinogens, such as benzene. Six other fracking fluid additives also contain benzene, but don't require a permit because of the so-called "Halliburton loophole" passed by congress in 2005, which exempts fracking outfits from the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.

Dick Cheney, the former CEO of Halliburton, was vice president of the U.S. under president George W. Bush when the measure was passed.

Benzene, according to the American Cancer Society, causes cancer in humans and animals, especially leukemia and other blood cancers.

"It’s bombs away. You can use benzene in large quantities, just as long as you don’t call it diesel," said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).

"The scandal in this case is not illegal conduct. It's what the law actually allows you to do. Ideally, Congress would change the law. The law makes no sense. Benzene-rich alternatives to diesel get a free pass, and that makes no environmental sense."

Drilling companies responded to the benzene issues raised by the group, saying fracked wells have not leaked into the aquifer, and that the group has yet to provide evidence to the contrary.

"The risk EIP claims to exist would only actually exist if there were examples of hydraulic fracturing contaminating groundwater. There aren’t," said Steve Everley, a spokesman for Energy in Depth. "Presence doesn’t indicate harm."

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A fracking loophole has allowed oil and gas drillers to pump benzene — a known carcinogen — into the ground.
fracking, loophole, pump, benzene, ground
Friday, 24 October 2014 08:11 AM
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