EPA Region 3
1650 Arch Street (3CEOO)
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
EPA Announces “Eyes on Drilling” Tipline
Release date: 01/27/2010
Contact Information: David
Sternberg (215) 814-5548 firstname.lastname@example.org
PHILADELPHIA (January 26, 2010) –
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the
creation of the “Eyes on Drilling” tipline for citizens to report
non-emergency suspicious activity related to oil and natural gas
The agency is asking citizens to call 1-877-919-4EPA (toll free) if
they observe what appears to be illegal disposal of wastes or other
suspicious activity. Anyone may also send reports by email to email@example.com. Citizens
may provide tips anonymously if they don’t want to identify
In the event of an emergency, such as a spill or release of
hazardous material, including oil, to the environment, citizens are
advised to call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.
Public concern about the environmental impacts of oil and natural
gas drilling has increased in recent months, particularly regarding
development of the Marcellus Shale formation where a significant
amount of activity is occurring. While EPA doesn’t grant permits for
oil and gas drilling operations, there are EPA regulations which may
apply to the storage of petroleum products and drilling fluids. The
agency is also very concerned about the proper disposal of waste
products, and protecting air and water resources.
EPA wants to get a better understanding of what people are
experiencing and observing as a result of these drilling activities.
The information collected may also be useful in investigating
The agency works closely with state and local officials, as well as
industry and public interest groups, to ensure that oil and natural
gas drilling occurs in a manner which is protective of human health
and the environment and complies with applicable laws. The agency is
also counting on concerned citizens to report unusual or suspicious
activity related to drilling operations.
EPA is asking citizens to report the location, time and date of such
activity, as well as the materials, equipment and vehicles involved
and any observable environmental impacts.
The Marcellus Shale geologic formation contains one of the largest
mostly untapped reserves of natural gas in the United States. It
underlies significant portions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio,
and New York, and smaller portions of Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland,
Interest in developing Marcellus Shale has increased because recent
improvements in natural gas extraction technology and higher energy
prices now make recovering the gas more profitable.
Operators produce this gas through a process called hydraulic
fracturing (fracking). Fracking requires drilling a well thousands
of feet below the land’s surface and pumping down the well under
pressure millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals to
fracture the shale.
The process allows the gas trapped in the formation to flow to the
well bore. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of the fluid flows back to
the surface. This “flowback” fluid consists of fracking fluid and
brines which contain dissolved minerals from the formation.
Operators are urged to recycle their flowback water for reuse in the
fracking process, but some of the flowback is taken offsite for
disposal. Chemicals used in the process are often stored on-site.
Spills can occur when utilizing these chemicals or when transporting
or storing wastewater, which can result in the contamination of
surface water or ground water, which is used for many purposes
including drinking water.