Suite of bills would close fracking loopholes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of Congress have just introduced a set of bills (called the Frack Pack) that would end exemptions that the oil and gas industry currently receive from some of the country’s bedrock environmental laws — the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. These bills and their sponsors include:
- The FRAC Act (Rep. Diana DeGette, Sen. Robert Casey) closes the “Halliburton Loophole” which exempts most fracking from underground drinking water protections. The bill minimizes drinking water contamination, requires public disclosure of fracking chemicals and helps guard against earthquakes caused by fracking.
- The BREATHE Act (Rep. Jared Polis) reduces air pollution from the oil and gas industry by requiring them to aggregate related sources under common ownership to determine total emissions.
- The FRESHER Act (Rep. Matt Cartwright) forces companies to get permits before they increase stormwater runoff from oil and gas well pads and related infrastructure.
- The CLEANER Act (Rep. Matt Cartwright) closes a loophole allowing oil and gas production to avoid hazardous waste requirements — a provision that helps to prevent mismanagement of these dangerous materials.
- The SHARED Act (Rep. Jan Schakowsky) requires testing of water sources near planned oil and gas operations to help determine the source of water contamination and reduce the costs of investigations.
Friends of the Earth’s Climate and Energy campaigner Kate DeAngelis offers the following statement in response:
The Frack Pack is an important first step toward stopping the oil and gas industry from profiting from the destruction of local communities and the pollution of our air and water. Oil and gas companies must be held to the same standards as other industries when it comes to protecting public health and the environment. Friends of the Earth strongly supports this bill, but recognizes that no protections can make fracking safe, and the only real solution is a ban on this destructive practice.