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Environmental groups ask EPA to regulate emissions from oil, gas wells

A coalition of environmental groups want the Environmental Protection Agency to come up with regulations that will reduce toxic emissions from wells and equipment from oil and gas drilling.
by Paul Monies Modified: May 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm •  Published: May 13, 2014
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A coalition of environmental groups asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to begin drafting regulations on emissions from oil and natural gas wells near urban areas, including thousands in Oklahoma.

The petition, filed by 64 local, state and national groups, said the EPA should limit toxic air pollution from wells under the Clean Air Act.

The petition identified more than 23,500 oil and gas wells within the metropolitan areas of Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton. The state had about 182,000 active oil and gas wells in 2012, according to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

“Every Oklahoman has the right to clean air to breathe,” said David Ocamb, director of the Sierra Club’s Oklahoma chapter. “Currently, Oklahoma air continues to deteriorate and instances of illnesses directly connected to air quality such as asthma continue to increase. A significant cause for this is the dramatic increase in oil and gas drilling in our state over the past decade.”

The coalition said its data shows at least 100,000 tons of hazardous air pollution per year came from oil and gas wells, including chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and naphthalene that have been linked to respiratory and neurological problems, birth defects and cancer.

“More than 150 million Americans now live near oil and gas wells or above shale areas where companies are looking to drill or engage in hydraulic fracturing, and EPA needs to set standards that restrict the hazardous air pollutants they put into the air,” Emma Cheuse, an attorney for Earthjustice, said in a statement.

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by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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Currently, Oklahoma air continues to deteriorate and instances of illnesses directly connected to air quality such as asthma continue to increase. A significant cause for this is the dramatic increase in oil and gas drilling in our state over the past decade.”

David Ocamb,
Director of the Sierra Club’s Oklahoma chapter

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