Oil Drilling Runoff Slides Past Regulation

Water runoff from oil drilling sites will now face far fewer regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, allowing possibly contaminated dirt and debris to flow directly into streams and wetlands.

The new exemptions were approved with the 2005 Energy Bill and went into effect last week. The Bush Administration helped push these exemptions, which are considered by environmentalists to be as highly beneficial to the oil industry as they are harmful to U.S. streams, rivers, wetlands, and groundwater.

"The industry lobbied to extend the exemption to those construction activities, and Congress agreed in last year's Energy Bill."

"Runoff of toxic substances, such as grease or petroleum byproducts, still would require a permit. Where the EPA and Bush administration went further, environmentalists say, is in allowing sediment, such as dirt and debris, to flow from drilling sites into streams without regulation."

Full Story: White House played a role in easing drilling-runoff rules

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