Toxic release reports sought for oil, gas drilling

WASHINGTON -- Environmental groups say they plan to petition the federal Environmental Protection Agency to require toxic chemical release reporting for the oil and gas industry.

The Environmental Integrity Projects says it will join with 16 other groups in Washington on Wednesday to call for the inclusion of oil and gas exploration in the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory. The database contains reports on the disposal and release of more than 650 toxic chemicals from thousands of U.S. facilities. Manufacturers, miners, utilities and others are required to report releases each year, but oil and gas exploration is largely exempted.

The groups say the current boom in hydraulic fracturing of natural gas, which injects water, sand and chemicals underground, makes it even more important for the oil and gas industry to disclose chemical releases.