EPA To Review Texas’ Oversight Of Injection Wells Amid Environmental Concerns

by | Jun 22, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » EPA To Review Texas’ Oversight Of Injection Wells Amid Environmental Concerns

As per reports, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to review Texas’ oversight of injection wells. This decision has come after “substantial concerns” from environmental groups. These wells are used for injecting oil drilling wastewater and carbon dioxide into the ground.

EPA to Review Texas' Oversight of Injection Wells

EPA Announces Review

Notably, there are concerns about well blowouts, sinkholes, and seismic activity linked to these operations. The EPA announced this review in a May 23 letter to environmental groups. However, it’s worth noting that the EPA spokesperson did not immediately respond to this news.

Nine Texas-based environmental and watchdog groups requested this review in March. These groups are led by Commission Shift and Clean Water Action.

Texas’ Injection Well Practices Under Scrutiny

For those who don’t know, Texas has the authority to permit “class II” injection wells. These wells dispose of drilling wastewater and inject carbon dioxide underground to enhance oil recovery. Parts of Texas, especially the Permian oil basin, have seen frequent well blowouts and seismic activity.

These incidents are linked to wastewater injection, according to the petitioners. The environmental groups urged the EPA to evaluate the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC). Notably, the RRC regulates oil production, exploration, and transportation in the state.

The petitioners want to know if the RRC meets the federal standards under the Safe Drinking Water Act. They are concerned about public health and environmental safety. A spokesperson for the RRC stated that the EPA has not yet contacted them. For now, the RRC stands by its regulatory track record.

The Need For Greater Accountability

The EPA reports about 180,000 class II injection wells across the U.S., with the largest concentration in Texas. Environmental groups raised concerns about the RRC’s oversight, claiming there is no recourse when reports of poorly managed wells come in.

Additionally, they say the RRC has not examined the causes of well leaks and blowouts. They haven’t examined the opened well permitting decisions to public scrutiny as well.

Transparent evaluation by the EPA will ultimately lead to stronger protections for our water resources,” Virginia Palacios said. Notably, she’s the executive director of Commission Shift.

The RRC has also applied for authority from the EPA to run its own permitting program. It’s for injecting carbon dioxide underground for permanent storage. Commission Shift believes the RRC’s current management raises red flags about its ability to regulate carbon sequestration.

The EPA is to review Texas’ oversight of injection wells, which is big news. The review will determine if the RRC’s practices align with federal safety and environmental standards. This decision is important for ensuring the safety and sustainability of Texas’ water resources and public health.

Also Read: The Senate Passes ADVANCE Act Bill To Boost Nuclear Industry

Author

  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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