Senate, House bills would protect drinking water from toxic gas drilling chemicals
by Earthworks and the Powder River Basin Resource Council
Washington – With growing national alarm over the health and environmental threat of toxic chemicals in natural gas drilling, five members of Congress are reintroducing bills to repeal the exemption of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” from the Safe Drinking Water Act and require public disclosure of chemicals used in the controversial process.
Sens. Bob Casey, D-Penn., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., introduced companion House and Senate versions of the Fracturing Responsibility and Chemical Awareness (FRAC) Act on March 15. The act would close the loophole that allows gas drillers – like no other industry – to inject known hazardous chemicals into underground drinking water supplies and would also force the industry to tell regulators and the public what chemicals they are using.
Energy development doesn’t have to threaten our drinking water and our communities’ health,” said John Fenton, a rancher from Pavillion, Wyo., where the U.S. EPA has warned some residents to stop drinking water from wells contaminated with arsenic and other chemicals associated with drilling and fracking. “We just want the oil and gas industry to follow the rules like everyone else,” said Fenton, a board member of the Powder River Basin Resource Council.Read More