OLR Bill Analysis
SB 237 (File 125, as amended by Senate “A” and “B”)*
AN ACT PROHIBITING THE STORAGE OR DISPOSAL OF FRACKING WASTE IN CONNECTICUT.
This bill establishes a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing waste in Connecticut until the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner adopts regulations to control it as a hazardous waste and impose certain licensing and information disclosure requirements. However, it gives DEEP discretion under certain conditions to not adopt the required regulations. The moratorium applies to any person accepting, receiving, collecting, storing, treating, disposing, and transferring between vehicles or modes of transportation any hydraulic fracturing waste. It also includes the sale, manufacture, and distribution of de-icing and dust suppression products derived from or containing these wastes.
It defines hydraulic fracturing as the process of pumping a fluid underground in order to create fractures in rock for exploration, development, production, or recovery of oil or gas. Hydraulic fracturing does not include drilling of geothermal water wells or any other well drilled for drinking water. It defines a “person” as any individual, firm, partnership, association, company, trust, corporation, limited liability company, municipality, agency, or political subdivision of the state.
The bill also:
1. requires DEEP to submit regulations to the Regulations Review Committee for approval after June 30, 2017 and no later than July 1, 2018;
2. requires DEEP to collect fracturing waste and waste product information;
3. requires any person transporting fracturing waste in the state, after the regulations are adopted, to obtain a DEEP permit; and
4. creates an exception to the moratorium to conduct research on small amounts for fracturing waste.
*Senate Amendment “A” replaces the original file's total ban on hydraulic fracturing waste with a moratorium pending DEEP adopting regulations, and imposes certain controls on waste-related activities.
*Senate Amendment “B” makes technical changes.
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2014
The bill requires DEEP to submit regulations to the Regulations Review Committee for approval after June 30, 2017 and no later than July 1, 2018. The regulations must (1) subject these wastes to the state's hazardous waste management regulations; (2) ensure any radioactive components of the wastes do not pollute the air, land, or waters or otherwise threaten human health or the environment; and (3) require disclosure of the composition of the wastes. But the DEEP commissioner has discretion to not adopt regulations under certain conditions (see below).
Under the bill, the sale, manufacture, and distribution of de-icing and dust suppression products is prohibited until DEEP adopts regulations controlling these products.
Information on Fracturing and Fracturing Waste Products
The bill requires the DEEP commissioner to request, at a minimum, the following information about the products from any person (presumably people or firms involved in the industry):
1. the extent to which an anti-icing, de-icing, pre-wetting or dust suppression product is or could be derived from or contain hydraulic fracturing wastes;
2. the origin of the materials used for the product; and
3. the product's chemical composition.
Any information DEEP gathers in this process is subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
Commissioner Discretion to Adopt Regulations
The bill authorizes the commissioner to ban a particular product or not adopt regulations required by the bill if the person fails to provide the requested information. The option not to adopt regulations applies to both the fracking waste and the de-icing and dust suppression product regulations.
The bill does not specify a deadline for adopting regulations controlling the sale, manufacture, and distribution of these products.
The bill requires any person collecting or transporting hydraulic fracturing wastes for receipt, acceptance, or transfer between vehicles in Connecticut to obtain a permit from DEEP before bringing the material into the state. This requirement applies even if the person collecting or transporting is not in the waste management business. The permit must require records to be kept of the waste's origin and all intermediate and final delivery points.
MORATORIUM EXCEPTION FOR RESEARCH
The bill includes a limited moratorium exception for research. Prior to the adoption of regulations, DEEP may grant up to three requests from one person to treat no more than a total of 330 gallons under each granted request. DEEP may permit a single treatment in excess of the gallon limit if the approval is issued to a single person and does not exceed 500 gallons.
The treatment must be for research to determine whether hydraulic fracturing wastes can be treated to make them suitable for use or reuse. DEEP's approval must include conditions designed to protect human health and the environment. All wastes treated under this exception must be handled as hazardous waste in accordance with applicable state law.
The wastes covered by this bill include any wastewater, wastewater solids, brine, sludge, drill cuttings, or any other substance generated as a part of or in the process of hydraulic fracturing. Products derived from or containing any of these wastes are included in the moratorium.
The bill includes the following definitions related to the moratorium:
1. “dispose” means the discharge, deposit, injection, dumping, spilling, leaking, or placing of any waste into or on land or water in a manner allowing it to enter the environment;
2. “gas” means all natural gas, whether hydrocarbon or nonhydrocarbon, including hydrogen sulfide, helium, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen, casing head gas, and all other fluid hydrocarbons not defined as oil under the bill; and
3. “radioactive materials” means any material, solid, liquid, or gas, including waste that emits spontaneously ionizing radiation.
Federal regulations currently exempt fracturing waste from hazardous waste requirements under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
RCRA regulations provide an exception from regulation as a hazardous waste to drilling fluids, produced waters, and other wastes that would otherwise be regulated as hazardous wastes. The exception is linked to the source of these materials, which must be the exploration, development, or production of crude oil, natural gas, or geothermal energy (40 CFR Part 261.4(b)(5)).
sHB 5308 (File 440), which the Environment Committee reported favorably, bans the storage, treatment, transfer, disposal, sale, or trade of hydraulic fracturing waste in Connecticut until DEEP adopts regulations controlling it as a hazardous waste. The bill directs DEEP to create a special permit allowing for the importation of up to 1,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing waste for treatment.