The U.S. Coast Guard wants to allow barges filled with fracking wastewater to run the nation's rivers on their way toward disposal. Many environmentalists are concerned, but industry groups say barge transport has its advantages. Critics of the plan say that if there was an accident, it could threaten the drinking water supply of millions of people.
The Coast Guard is proposing to require chemical testing of each barge load before shipment. The wastewater now is usually disposed of by truck or rail. A government report notes it poses more risk for accidents than shipping by barge. The industry says far greater amounts of toxic chemicals are already being moved by barge, including oil drilling waste.