The company paying the fine was Strategic Minerals, which runs the Franklin recycling site. A couple of months ago, it agreed to pay a fine of $159,000 for failing to have an adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan and for other stormwater discharge violations. Why was Strategic Minerals obliged to take care of its stormwater discharges? Because it has a duty to comply with the federal Clean Water Act, including Section 402(p) which requires permits for "discharges associated with industrial activities."
|Flooding in Pennsylvania, 2011 (AP photo)|
So any stormwater that might flow over any of Cabot's Marcellus Shale fracking sites -- picking up pollutants along the way -- would enter the waterways of Pennsylvania free from EPA meddling. Pennsylvania has experienced devastating floods in recent years, and climate change may increase the intensity of extreme weather events in the state according to this report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The source of the statutory exemption is the infamous Energy Act of 2005, which exempted hydraulic fracturing from several important environmental laws. As a result, some industrial activities (glass recycling, for example) require permits under the Clean Water Act's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). But not fracking.
If you would like to take action to help Massachusetts make the switch away from fracked natural gas toward clean energy, visit beatbackfracking.org.