On January 26, 2010, the EPA announced the creation of the “Eyes on Drilling” tip line. The tip line is intended for use by citizens to report non-emergency suspicious activity related to oil and natural gas development. According to the website given at the end of the press release to provide instructions about the tip line, the tip line is for the EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region (Region 3) and to be used to report dumping and other illegal or suspicious hauling and/or disposal activities.
According to the instructional website, the citizen informants are encouraged to record, to the extent possible, the location, date, time, and who was involved in the event, observations, activities, discharge destination, and environmental impacts. The website also suggests that photo and videos are great ways to document observations. A toll free number and email address was provided to contact the tip line.
The EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region includes the states of Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. In EPA’s press release, the following rationale was provided to explain why the tip line was established.
“Public concern about the environmental impacts of oil and natural gas drilling has increased in recent months, particularly regarding development of the Marcellus Shale formation where a significant amount of activity is occurring. While EPA doesn’t grant permits for oil and gas drilling operations, there are EPA regulations which may apply to the storage of petroleum products and drilling fluids. The agency is also very concerned about the proper disposal of waste products, and protecting air and water resources.
EPA wants to get a better understanding of what people are experiencing and observing as a result of these drilling activities. The information collected may also be useful in investigating industry practices.
The agency works closely with state and local officials, as well as industry and public interest groups, to ensure that oil and natural gas drilling occurs in a manner which is protective of human health and the environment and complies with applicable laws. The agency is also counting on concerned citizens to report unusual or suspicious activity related to drilling operations.”
The instructional website can be found at the following web address: http://www.epa.gov/region03/marcellus_shale/tipline.html.This article includes publically available information, and was assembled by Rachel Shanteau, Acacia Environmental Group LLC. For more information on the author see here.