Markey Queries EPA on Safety, Monitoring of Technology

WASHINGTON (February 26, 2011) – Responding to an investigative article published today by The New York Times on the high incidence of radioactive materials and other contaminants in the wastes produced from natural gas extraction, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, immediately questioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its oversight of these extractive practices.

The Times article shows that the radioactively contaminated wastewater derived from the so-called “fracking” process to produce natural gas from shale rock and other formations is being sent to sewage plants that do not have the capacity to remove radioactive radium or other materials, and these hazardous waste materials are then dumped into rivers and streams where they enter our drinking water supplies. Exposure to highly radioactive radium, one of the materials discussed in the Times report, can lead to cancer and other harmful health effects.


"These disturbing revelations raise the prospect that natural gas production has turned our rivers and streams into this generation’s ‘Love Canals,’” said Rep. Markey. “The natural gas industry has repeatedly claimed that fracking can be done safely. We now know we need a full investigation into exactly how fracking is done and what it does to our drinking water and our environment. Americans should not have to consume radioactive materials from their drinking water as a byproduct of natural gas production.”

The letter to the EPA can be found HERE.

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