Court to state: Take a harder look at oil drilling
NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana regulators have been ordered by a state appellate court to thoroughly analyze possible contamination, including radiation, from dumping fluids used in drilling for oil and natural gas into the seas just off the coast.
On Friday, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that the state must determine if the practice of dumping waste waters from drilling operations is harmful to the environment and humans. Before being dumped in offshore waters, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said the fluids - known as produced waters - must be treated.
Environmentalists sued the DEQ after it issued new permits to drillers in 2009 without analyzing how harmful the produced waters are. They contend the produced waters contain contaminants that accumulate in animal tissues and in the environment over time.