A new report from a New York-based environmental group attempts to put a number on the amount of waste generated by hydraulic fracturing across the country.
The study from Environment New York claims 250 billion gallons of wastewater were generated by fracking nationwide in 2012, including 1.2 billion gallons in neighboring Pennsylvania. The fracking process requires the use of large quantities of water mixed with sand and chemicals injected deep underground to fracture shale formations and release natural gas.
The numbers were compiled from regulators in each state that currently allows high-volume fracking, according to the report.
“The numbers on fracking add up to an environmental nightmare,” said Eric Whalen, field organizer for Environment New York. “For public health and our environment, we need to stop to fracking in New York before it starts.”
High-volume fracking remains on hold in New York as Health Commissioner Nirav Shah continues to review proposed guidelines from the Department of Environmental Conservation. That review has continued for a year, while the DEC’s process was launched more than five years ago.
The wastewater total, according to Environment New York, would fill the Empire State Building 1,000 times.
The new report was knocked by a gas-industry trade group, which called on the state to enact “reasonable regulations that will allow natural gas development while protecting the environment and human health.”
“This is one more overblown smear piece that offers no context, applies no objectivity, adds no perspective in terms of water usage compared to other industries and ignores the real world benefits that the more than 30 states that allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing are seeing,” said Jim Smith, a spokesman for the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York.
Here’s Whalen discussing the report, which was released Thursday. The full report is below.