Defining Waste Crux Of Dispute
GreenHunter claims it’s oil field waste, but Coast Guard
6 February 2015
By John McCabe Managing Editor
WHEELING - The debate between GreenHunter Water and the Coast
Guard over shipping fracking wastewater along the Ohio River
appears to come down to just how the waste is classified.
GreenHunter Water, a publicly traded company, on Thursday filed a
regulatory statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission indicating the company classifies its fracking waste as
"oil field waste," not "shale gas extraction wastewater." This
distinction, the company asserts, will allow it to barge drilling
waste on the Ohio River under a Coast Guard regulation from 1987.
The company informed its investors during an earnings conference
call last week that it had received approval to ship the waste.
Coast Guard officials on Wednesday said it they are still deciding
whether to allow the barging of "shale gas extraction wastewater,"
but did not address whether the waste could be considered oil
"We are committed to ensuring proper research with regards to
shale gas extraction wastewater maritime transportation before
approving any request to transport shale gas extraction
wastewater," Chief Warrant Officer Chad Saylor said.
Lt. Commander Joe Klinker on Thursday reiterated that statement,
adding there was no update following GreenHunter's filing.
Coast Guard officials did not immediately respond later Thursday
to a request for additional comment on GreenHunter's assertion
that it would be shipping oil field waste instead of shale gas
In its regulatory filing, GreenHunter made the following
"In response to the U.S. Coast Guard recently making statements to
certain media outlets that it has not given the company clearance
to ship wastewater by barge along the Ohio River, the company
states that on Oct. 2, 2014, the company received a letter from
Mr. R.V. Timme, captain in the U.S. Coast Guard, providing
specifically that for any cargo that contains oil field waste, the
cargo must be transported in accordance with Navigation and
Inspection Circular 7-87. One of the definitions of oil field
waste contained in NCIV 7-87 is "salt water (produced brine or
produced water). May contain oil.
"Any and all cargo to be transported by the company on the Ohio
River will be cargo classified as 'oil field waste' as defined by
NCIV 7-87 and other applicable regulations and not as 'shale gas
extraction wastewater.' Oil field waste is what the company
handles on a daily basis in regards to transportation and disposal
at its various SWD facilities."
The NCIV 7-87 was issued on Oct. 13, 1987, titled "Guidance on
Waterborne Transport of Oil Field Wastes." A message left Thursday
for Capt. Timme at the Coast Guard's Louisville office was not
GreenHunter has maintained Coast Guard approval is the roadblock
preventing the company from further pursuing their planned porting
area in the Warwood section of Wheeling.