We are living in a time period where climate change is at the forefront of many Idahoans’ minds: skiers are wondering why the snow feels different, kayakers are concerned about the flows of rivers, and anglers are uneasy about declining fish populations.
As a result, many Idahoans are encouraging our energy companies to shift towards clean, renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels. The good news is that they are starting to listen. We are making progress toward achieving a carbon-neutral Idaho (albeit, there is still much more work to do!). Unfortunately, Snake River Oil and Gas Company is threatening to reverse some of that progress.
Snake River Oil and Gas Company drills for fossil fuels throughout the Treasure Valley. Resurfacing fossil fuels from deep underground is an extensive process that produces a lot of wastewater. Currently, the company must dispose of its wastewater off-site.
To save money, Snake River Oil and Gas Company is requesting permission from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to instead discharge their oil and gas wastewater into an existing, 5,000 ft. well in Payette County, Idaho. Granting this permit would benefit the company by decreasing their disposal costs and negatively impact Idahoans by causing harm to our water quality and public health.
Below the injection well site are aquifers that serve as important sources of current and future drinking water for Idahoans. A primary concern for this proposed well is that the accumulated wastewater could contaminate our drinking water. This could happen through leaching through cracks in the well, surface spills seeping into the aquifers, or a multitude of other causes.
We need to be doing everything we can to protect our drinking water sources in Idaho. Furthermore, we need to continue to transition towards clean, renewable energy sources. This project will make it easier for oil and gas companies to produce more fossil fuels at a time when we need to be focused on advancing clean energy, and can hurt public health in the process.
The EPA is accepting comments on this proposed permit until March 30th. Stand up for Idaho’s environment and tell the EPA to reject this permit.