Leading House opponents of hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) said their nearly year-long investigation revealed that oil and natural gas service companies have continued to use diesel fuel to produce shale gas without receiving regulatory approval.

Oil and gas service companies injected more than 32 million gallons of diesel fuel or hydrofracking fluids containing diesel fuel in wells in 19 states between 2005 and 2009, said Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), who opened the inquiry last February into the potential health and environmental risks associated with hydrofracking of shale gas (see Daily GPI, Feb. 19, 2010).

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Waxman in 2010, sent letters to companies that engage in hydrofracking around the country -- Halliburton, BJ Services and Schlumberger, as well as Frac Tech Services, Superior Well Services, Universal Well Services, Sanjel Corp. and Calfrac Well Services -- asking them to identify the types and quantities of chemicals used in hydrofracking fluids.

"The information we have reviewed shows that the oil and gas industry has injected millions of gallons of diesel fuel and hydraulic fracturing fluids containing diesel fuel since 2005. These activities appear to be a violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act [SDWA] because the companies did not obtain permits authorizing the injection of diesel fuel," the House lawmakers wrote in a letter to Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which also is conducting a probe of the risks associated with hydrofracking (see Daily GPI, March 19, 2010). In 2005 Congress exempted hydrofracking fluids from the SDWA except when the fluids contain diesel.

"We urge you [the EPA] to examine the use of hydraulic fracturing fluids containing diesel fuel as part of your investigation into the industry's practices. This appears to be an area of significant noncompliance with the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act," Waxman, Markey and DeGette said. (For more details, see www.shaledaily.com).

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