Nebraska law aims to control fracking waste

State drinking water quality a concern among advocates in the state.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   March 25, 2016 at 6:58 AM
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LINCOLN, Neb., March 25 (UPI) -- Advocacy group Bold Nebraska, which helped take on the Keystone XL pipeline, declared victory after state leaders passed a measure to control oil and gas waste.

The Nebraska Legislature passed bill LB-1082 on a vote of 48-0-1 to enact stronger provisions governing the waste associated with hydraulic fracturing, a drilling practice more commonly known as fracking.

Bold Nebraska Director Jane Kleeb said the passage came as a result of pressure from citizens concerned about waste disposal in the state.

"Wastewater injection wells are the result other states' reckless fracking practices and should be banned," she said in a statement.

In January, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin approved $1.38 million in one-time costs to support earthquake research. The U.S. Geological Survey found evidence to suggest seismic activity in the state may be tied to the disposal of wastewater from the oil and gas industry in underground wells.

Two minor tremors were recorded by the USGS in Oklahoma in the last 24 hours.

Nebraska lawmakers in floor debates in early March said, meanwhile, that up to 10,000 barrels of wastewater from Colorado were among those slated for deposit in the state's Sioux County, along the border with Wyoming. State leaders said it was a water quality concern given the proximity to the Sandhills area, home to the primary source of water in Nebraska.

The bill requires monitoring of waste fluids and notification distribution to areas where applications for injection are targeted.

Bold Nebraska in 2014 pressured pipeline planner TransCanada to revise the Keystone XL route through the state to avoid the Sandhills area.

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