201504.28

EPA to Decide on Public Reporting of Oil and Gas Toxic Chemicals by October 30, 2015

Environmental Groups Stay Their Lawsuit against EPA over Exemption for Oil and Gas from Reporting to Federal Toxics Release Inventory

Washington, D.C.  April 28, 2015 – A federal court has entered a stay in a lawsuit that environmental organizations filed against Environmental Protection Agency over the agency’s failure to require the oil and gas industry to report its toxic emissions to a public pollution database.

The stay in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was based on a joint request by the environmental groups and EPA.  In January, the Environmental Integrity Project and nine allied organizations sued EPA over the agency’s long-running failure to respond to the groups’ petition to require oil and gas extraction companies to disclose their pollution to the federal Toxics Release Inventory, a federal database to which most other industries must report.

Because EPA confirmed that it would respond to the groups’ petition by October 30, 2015, the groups agreed to put their lawsuit on hold in the meantime and await the agency’s decision.

“For the past two-and-a-half years, our coalition has pushed EPA to require the oil and gas industry to report its toxic chemical releases.  With EPA’s response to our petition coming in October, we’ll be one step closer to that goal,” said Adam Kron, attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project, which is representing the groups.  “The public has a right to know this information, which is critical to public health and community planning.”

Based on EPA estimates, the oil and gas extraction industry releases more toxic pollution to the air—during activities such as hydraulic fracturing and natural gas processing—than any other industry except for power plants.

The Environmental Integrity Project filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Center for Effective Government, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture), the Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Earthworks, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Responsible Drilling Alliance, and Texas Campaign for the Environment.

The lawsuit followed a petition that the organizations filed in October 2012, requesting that EPA require facilities in the oil and gas extraction industry to report their releases of toxic chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory.  Most other industries have had to comply with these “right-to-know” rules for more than 20 years.

The industry’s booming growth over the last decade has increased the variety and volume of toxic chemicals it releases to the land, air, and water.

If EPA requires the oil and gas industry to report to the Toxics Release Inventory, the public could obtain data about the industry’s toxic chemical footprint online for free without delay.

Media contact: Tom Pelton, Director of Communications, Environmental Integrity Project (202) 888-2703 or tpelton@environmentalintegrity.org