PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - February 26, 2021 


A new study finds big gains in living-wage jobs under Biden Infrastructure Plan; U.S. House passes major protections for LGBTQ Americans.


2021Talks - February 26, 2021 


A $15 minimum wage is out for now; Capitol Police on past and current threats; House passes major milestone for equality; and voting rights targeted across the nation.

Investigation: Marcellus Waste 'Too Hot' for Release by Nuke Plant

Downloading Audio

Click to download

We love that you want to share our Audio! And it is helpful for us to know where it is going.
Media outlets that are interested in downloading content should go to www.newsservice.org
Click Here if you do not already have an account and need to sign up.
Please do it now, as the option to download our audio packages is ending soon

An investigation by Rolling Stone magazine found the waste brine from Marcellus wells is radioactive enough to be seen as a threat to workers and the public. (Vivian Stockman/Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition)
An investigation by Rolling Stone magazine found the waste brine from Marcellus wells is radioactive enough to be seen as a threat to workers and the public. (Vivian Stockman/Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition)
January 24, 2020

CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- A federal loophole means millions of tons and billions of gallons of radioactive natural gas waste are being disposed of as if they were not radioactive.

According to the investigation by Rolling Stone, liquid brine from the average Marcellus well contains more than 9,000 picocuries per liter of radium.

A picocurie, abbreviated pCi, is equal to the radioactivity of one gram of radium. A nuclear site is not allowed to discharge wastewater above 60 pCi.

Melissa Troutman, research and policy analyst for the nonprofit group Earthworks said the problem is an exemption included in federal law for oil and gas waste decades ago.

"It is exempt from hazardous waste law, and has been since the 1980s," Troutman explained. "So, for the past 40 years, this waste has been disposed of improperly, and has led to water and land contamination as well as public health risks."

The industry argues that naturally occurring radioactivity doesn't pose a real threat to humans or the environment. And gas drillers' political allies have said increased regulations would stunt growth at a time when the industry is already troubled by low prices.

Troutman said the levels and types of radioactivity in the waste are far more dangerous than what people normally would encounter, particularly when it is concentrated in the processes of production and disposal. She adds there are people in Congress who see this as a serious problem.

"At the federal level, there are bills that have been introduced to close the hazardous waste loophole," she said. "The unfortunate thing is, the political will is not there to do so."

According to Earthworks, Marcellus and Utica drilling has produced nearly 400 billion barrels of liquid waste and almost 10 million tons of solid waste since 2011.

Troutman said while all oil and gas drilling produces some radioactive waste, the waste from the Marcellus is the most radioactive in the country.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV