In an effort said to better protect the nation’s water supply, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation on July 25 to override a law that prevents the federal government from regulating the drilling process for oil and gas known as hydraulic fracturing.
U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) introduced the legislation — known as the Frac Act — which would require hydraulic fracturing companies to publicly disclose the chemicals they are pumping into the ground. It would also give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate the process going forward.
“The American people are sick and tired of living in a system that allows these oil and gas companies to do as they please,” DeGette said. “Some of the chemicals these companies are pumping into the ground are highly toxic and could cause real harm to people’s health if they get into our water supply. We should be doing everything we can to protect the public from the threat posed by these dangerous chemicals, and this bill will finally give the EPA the power to do that.”
Increased production of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas has created concerns about groundwater contamination and other impacts to drinking water supplies if best practices and proper procedures are not used on the hydraulic fracturing sites.
If approved, DeGette’s bill would close a loophole that was created in 2005 when then-President George W. Bush signed into law a bill that included a provision to exempt hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
It was one of five bills DeGette and others introduced on July 25 to address concerns related to the hydraulic fracturing process, which collectively, has been dubbed the “Frack Pack.”
The other bills introduced are:
- The Cleaner Act, which would make oil and gas companies responsible for cleaning up and disposing of hazardous waste that comes from their operations
- The Fresher Act, which would mandate a study on the effects of stormwater runoff from oil and gas operations
- The Breathe Act, which would decrease toxic air pollution that comes from oil and gas exploration and production activities
- The Shard Act, which would require testing for water contamination near fracking sites.
Click here to read The Frac Act.