Environmental Protection

EPA Wants To Allow Continued Wastewater Dumping In Wyoming

EPA has proposed permits that would allow oil companies to continue releasing contaminated wastewater onto the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming.

National Public Radio (NPR) reported the EPA approved dumping wastewater from oil companies on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. This wastewater includes chemicals that companies add to the wells during hydraulic fracturing, an engineering practice that makes wells produce more oil. State rules ban companies from dumping water after it's been used for hydraulic fracturing or other chemical treatments on Wyoming land outside of the reservation.

Although dumping toxic wastewater is illegal in most areas of the US, the EPA made exceptions in the 1970s after Wyoming ranchers argued that water—even dirty water—was necessary for their livestock.

Decades of dumping has created artificial wetlands that attract area livestock and wildlife. The wetlands, which subsequently feed into natural water supplies, are fed by streams of wastewater flowing from oil operations.

Read EPA issued permits here.

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