WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), today led Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), chairman of the Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee, in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Adm. Gina McCarthy calling on the EPA to reject the October 2012 Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) petition that requests the agency to add the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry, Standard Industrial Classification Code 13, to the list of facilities required to report under the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).

The Senators called the petition “frivolous, inappropriate, and unnecessary,” and further stated that action to list the oil and gas industry “runs counter to the intent of the TRI and would further diminish the limited value that the current TRI serves, we believe should be focused more narrowly.”

In the letter, the Senators’ sited EPA's previous decision not to propose expansion to oil and gas exploration and production, in which EPA stated in 1996 that: “This industry group is unique in that it may have relative activities located over significantly large geographic areas. While together these activities may involve the management of significant quantities of EPCRA section 313 chemicals in addition to requiring significant employee involvement, taken at the smallest unit (individual well), never the employee nor the chemical thresholds are likely to be met.”

“Despite substantial new development of American oil and natural gas, these realities previously cited by EPA remain. Consequently, nothing has changed since the inception of the TRI to suggest that its purposes would be served by adding another high volume, low toxicity waste industry – particularly one that would overwhelmingly fall outside the reporting requirement thresholds,” the Senators said. “For these reasons, we strongly believe that EPA should reject the EIP petition as soon as possible.”

On Jan. 7, 2015, the EIP and other environmental organizations filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to compel the EPA to act on an EIP petition.

To read the full letter, click here.