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Gaps seen in emissions standards for U.S. energy sector

Cancers and other risks associated with oil and gas sector, advocacy groups say.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   May 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- Advocacy group Earthrights International said it wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address issues tied to emissions from the oil and gas sector.

The group, which was joined by more than 60 other environmental and civil society groups, filed a 112-page petition with the EPA arguing there are "serious gaps" in the regulation of emissions from oil and natural gas operations in the United States.

"The toxic pollutants emitted by these operations present health risks when people are exposed, including increases in cancer risk, heightened risk of developmental disorders in children, and risk of respiratory harm," the petition says.

Their petition said hydraulic fracturing, a controversial drilling practice dubbed fracking, also uses a number of toxic chemicals, yet the types and amounts of chemicals used aren't disclosed because the energy industry wants to protect their trade secrets.

Oil services company Baker Hughes said last month it could disclose the ingredients of hydraulic fracturing fluids without comprising trade secrets.

The EPA is called on in the petition to develop "robust" standards under the Clean Air Act. There was no EPA statement issued in response to the petition.

Fracking is responsible for the dramatic increase in U.S. oil and gas production.

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