New federal report highlights exemptions for oil and gas companies are leading to harmful radioactivity exposure
Innamorato, Muth legislation would accomplish that in Pa.
HARRISBURG, July 21 – The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report on the impact of hazardous, radioactive oil and gas waste that underscores the need for Congress to pass legislation and the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pass all three bills put forward by state Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny. Her legislation would close the hazardous waste loophole and prevent devastating health impacts on children, most notably Ewing’s sarcoma.
Current law excludes oil and gas companies from the requirement to thoroughly test or treat their waste before disposing of it in municipal landfills. This waste, in turn, ends up in wastewater treatment facilities and because neither of these facilities can treat such waste, it ultimately ends up in community water sources. Unless this loophole is closed, radioactive waste will continue to flow into drinking water. The NRDC report notes that Pennsylvania lacks even the most basic regulations.
“Current testing standards are insufficient and nebulous. This loophole allows the dangerous and radioactive waste from the oil and gas industry to flow untreated into our water sources,” Innamorato said. “The report from the NRDC demonstrates that, if left unchanged, the hazardous waste loophole will continue to have detrimental effects on our communities.”
Innamorato, along with state Sen. Katie Muth, D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery, is calling on members of Congress and the Pennsylvania legislature to act on already-introduced legislation and close the hazardous waste loophole.
"For decades, industry and government regulators have failed to answer this question: if their extraction practices are not dangerous, then why do they need exemptions in the laws which are supposed to protect us from hazardous waste contamination?” Muth said.
“That's because they've known the answer all along: that the extraction process and the resultant radioactive waste are released into our waterways after being sent through facilities not equipped to handle radioactive waste landfills, poisoning Pennsylvanians across our Commonwealth,” Muth added. “This report is yet another piece of damning evidence that Pennsylvanians' health and wellness are at the mercy of industry. State regulators have failed to protect us and failure to act now and take immediate action further proves their gross negligence."
Both Innamorato and Muth have championed this legislation in the past. They said they’re hoping this NRDC report motivates lawmakers to pass the legislation and help make Pennsylvania, and America, a safer place to live.