DeGette, Polis, Cartwright and Schakowsky Introduce Legislative Package to Protect Public Health, Environment from Oil and Gas Development Risks
WASHINGTON, DC —Today, U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (CO-01), Jared Polis (CO-02), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) introduced their Safe Energy Future Plan, a package of five bills that will protect public health and the environment from the risks of oil and gas production, including hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.”
“Our country’s water and air quality should not be compromised by drilling and fracking,” the four legislators said. “Oil and gas development has expanded in the past decade, while environmental protections haven’t kept pace. Our legislation will close loopholes and exceptions that have been made at the expense of public health and safety. They will hold the energy industry to the same nationwide standards as other industries in this country must meet. After all, air and water pollution have no respect for state lines.”
The FRAC Act (DeGette) closes the so-called Halliburton Loophole, enacted in 2005, thus ensuring federal regulation of fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act. It would also require public disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking.
The BREATHE Act (Polis) closes loopholes in the Clean Air Act that currently exempt the oil and gas industry from essential protections from toxic air pollution. The bill would require that toxic emissions of multiple related small sources be aggregated to determine total emissions, just like other industries have to do.
The FRESHER Act (Cartwright) closes the loophole in the Clean Water Act that endangers water quality near oil and gas production sites, and requires oil and gas producers to obtain the standard permits necessary for activities that increase storm-water runoff and risk water pollution.
The CLEANER Act (Cartwright) closes the loophole in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that exempts waste materials from oil and natural gas production from requirements for the safe handling, transport and disposal of hazardous waste.
The SHARED Act (Schakowsky) prevents drinking water contamination by requiring baseline water testing of sources near planned fracking sites, along with public disclosure of the test results, before the sites are approved for operation.
"We support mineral extraction as long as it's done responsibly,” the lawmakers noted. “But the current patchwork of regulations and loophole-filled laws doesn’t ensure that this is the case. For the safety of all our communities, we need to ensure that the oil and gas industries are held accountable.”