WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. House lawmakers from both parties introduced a package of bills today to close the loopholes that exempt fracking operations from the nation’s core environmental laws. Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) were among the lead sponsors of the bills, referred to as the “Frack Pack.”
The FRAC Act, the BREATHE Act, and the FRESHER Act would close loopholes in the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act respectively. The fourth bill, the SHARED Act, would require baseline water quality testing before fracking begins. Margie Alt, executive director for Environment America, joined lawmakers on a conference call with reporters to announce the bills’ introduction, and made the following remarks:
“In the decade since the fracking boom began, drilling operations have contaminated drinking water, polluted our air, and threatened the health of nearby residents. Yet incredibly, fracking remains exempt from key provisions of our bedrock environmental laws.
“The best way to safeguard our health – and the health of the planet – is to ban this drilling altogether. Until then, we must do everything we can to protect the families living on the frontline of fracking.
“Environment America and our state affiliates in Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York, Illinois and across the nation applaud these representatives for their leadership to reduce the harms of fracking. We need more champions like them who are willing to take on the oil and gas industry. It’s time we end these special interest exemptions and begin to protect our communities and the environment.”