Environmental group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Appeals Board, challenging five federal national pollutant discharge elimination system permits allowing three oil and gas companies to dispose of wastewater in surface streams. The permits were issued by the EPA for hydraulically fractured drilling operations in Wyoming in and around the Wind River Indian Reservation. According to PEER, surface water disposal of liquid drilling waste is prohibited in areas of Wyoming where the state has jurisdiction, and the EPA failed to provide information to the public demonstrating that surface water disposal is safe. The petition further alleges that the permits are invalid because the chemicals used in the discharged wastewater were not disclosed to the public (the chemicals are protected as trade secrets), depriving the public of the ability to comment on the potential impact of the discharges on receiving waters.
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