Drinking water that catches fire? Radioactive rainwater? You got the Senate to reintroduce the FRAC Act to close the Halliburton Loophole—now help it become law! Make the drilling companies accountable—an Action Alert.
In February, we reported on the terrible environmental and health hazards posed by a method of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
One of our biggest concerns was over what is commonly referred to as the Halliburton Loophole. In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed by Congress to make sure we have clean drinking water which is free from both natural and man-made contaminates. But in 2005, the Bush Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling from the SDWA as a favor to Halliburton, the world’s second largest oilfield services company. For each frack, 80 to 300 tons of chemicals may be used, though the Bush/Cheney Energy provision exempts companies from disclosing the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing.
On March 15, S.587, the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, was introduced in the Senate. It would amend the SDWA to repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing.
This bill doesn’t come a moment too soon. In April there was an explosion and a leak of “thousands and thousands” of gallons of fracking fluid on to farmland and into streams in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Nearby families were asked to evacuate the area as a precaution. Some did, some didn’t. “Our family’s been on this corner a long time and expect to stay and expect a good-faith effort from Chesapeake [Energy, the company doing the fracking] so that we can live here,” said Ted Tomlinson, a neighbor. His concern is for his drinking water well just several football fields away from the blown out gas well. “The biggest thing is the footprint on the environment. Well, obviously, this is a big footprint.”
And for the first time, a scientific study from Duke University has linked natural gas drilling with flammable water. The study determined a clear pattern of deep drinking water systems in some areas becoming so contaminated with methane that water faucets can actually be lit on fire.
The New York Times recently ran an exposé of the politics and the federal regulatory issues surrounding the natural gas industry. The article says that interviews with Environmental Protection Agency scientists, together with confidential documents obtained by the Times, show long and deep divisions within the agency over whether and how to increase regulation of oil and gas drillers, and over the enforcement of existing laws that some agency officials say are clearly being violated:
EPA scientists working on the agency’s national hydrofracking study have also emphasized that sewage treatment plants are not, technically speaking, treating the waste.
For example, when one agency scientist wrote in a draft plan for the national study that wastewater could be “discharged to surface water after treatment to remove contaminants,” another scientist corrected the statement in the margin.
Using the federal definition of treatment, the second scientist wrote, “we really don’t fully treat the waste.”
On a lighter note, you may enjoy the Fracking Song, created by the New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute’s Studio 20.
Please contact your senators today and ask them to pass the FRAC Act, and close the Halliburton Loophole!
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Please give this matter your utmost attention……I think we all should have learned the dangers of drilling when the deepwater horizon accident happened in the gulf. It seems to me that this method of drilling is even more dangerous to people and the earth….please do what you can to put a stop to this and hold the people that are doing it responsible.
Get Educated on the “Fracking” process before you try to put a halt/stop to it, would you? You Eco-Friendly people probably don’t know the slightest thing about oil well drilling or fracking, you just want to point the finger at people like HALLIBURTON that are trying to raise this country from the dirt & rocks people like you put us in because you want to be “environmentally friendly”. News flash, America can’t run on dirt, rocks, and sun power….. sure solar (photovoltaic) energy is awesome and doesn’t hurt anyone, (yet), but it’s going to take a while before renewables can power jets, heavy duty freight planes, 18-wheelers, buses that run on diesel engines, etc. If you stop companies like HALLIBURTON from fracking, not only will America NEVER become Energy Independent, but gas/diesel (aka TRANSPORTATION) prices will SKYROCKET, because we are importing oil from the enemy, all because our eco-friendly citizens want us to sit on top of all the black gold, excuse me… “OIL” that is about 20,000 FEET below us. Your precious aquifers are around a couple hundred feet below us…. and before these companies drill down a hole, they set LAYERS of CEMENT, 2-3 sets of heavy duty pipes with diameters the size of sidewalks that have to be picked up and set by 2 million dollar cranes to just lift and set in, ALL to create a BARRIER from the liquid they are pumping up and WANT, and to PROTECT aquifers. WE DO NOT WANT YOUR WATER, it makes the separation of oil & gas harder and makes our systems have to work harder, therefore, hence… WE ALSO DO NOT WANT TO CONTAMINATE YOUR AQUIFERS. Next time you are getting in your car to go to the store to buy your organic foods, thank AMERICAN OIL companies for your gas prices not being $200+/per gallon. Or you can ride your bike to the store that’s 20 miles away. Your choice.
AN EDUCATED CHEMICAL ENGINEER & OIL FIELD OPERATIONS SPECIALIST
Please pass the FRAC Act, and close the Halliburton Loophole!
This shows how ignorant people are on new technology such as that currently in use by GasFrac (GASFVF) with does not use water, but propane that gives higher yields and much lower environmental damage. Likely other gases could be used, but natural gas itself (ie propane) seems ideal. This may take awhile but changes the basis of this whole problem. See: http://gasfrac.com/presentations/GasFracInvestPresentationJanuary2011.pdf
Obviously you recognize that there is a problem with current methods.
Couple of points though:
Propane is NOT natural gas. Propane is easily liquified by compression. Natural gas is mostly Methane, is very difficult to liquify, and requires cryogenic temperatures to do so. I don’t have nomographs handy to show what happens when methane is dissolved in propane.
If its so safe they (the drillers) should have no problem with the bill in congress that will render them liable for any damage.
I am encouraging my local politicians to spend their money to build a database of water quality rather than try to regulate the drilling.
Please pass the FRAC Act, and close the Halliburton Loophole.
What about the radio active ocean at the west coast. ? I am sick and know about others. We con’t stop coughing. I am afraid to go into my garden let alone eat the produce. Don’t say the Media says everything is under Conroll. It is not and will plume out more evil for 6 to 9 month; 5 different poisons. Not just radioactive Iodine. I looked at a devestating website. Barbara
Thank you for all you do!
The fracking and lack of regulations which allow it is an outrage upon the citizens who are affected and have no rights to protect themselves. This must be changed.! Bush and Cheney were one of the worst things ever to happen to this country. No surprise they are responsible for this kind of action!
Its critical that we don’t let a handful of greedy guys steal the water we all need to drink,
water our fields, wash our loved ones, be a home for our fish and wildlife, etc.
NO FRACKING. NOT NOW, NOT EVER.
Join the fight. Before its too late and your house explodes.
Most european countries do not allow toxic chemicals to be put into their water supply. And yet our government allows known toxins to the human body such as chlorine and floride to be added to our water supply. Are they that corrupt that they don’t care about us?????? Every pool and all of our municipal water in the US is loaded with toxic chemicals……why????
I am very much in favor of responsible stewardship in the use of natural resources. It does nothing in advancing that objective when political attacks “muddy the waters.” The evil “Bush/Cheney” did it again, is an unnecessary comment in the above article. One might ask which party (the evil Reid/Pelosi) passed the legislation exempting “the evil Halliburton”!?
Instruct your copy writers to grow up, or this supporter of reasonable, common sense solutions to our problems will no longer support your organization!
Hi Dave, legislation is commonly referred to by the names of the administration that pushed the legislation. This provision is commonly known as the Bush/Cheney Energy Provision because it was a major issue of theirs, much as the PPACA is commonly known as Obamacare because it was a major issue of Obama’s, or the many amendments sponsored by legislators that take the legislator’s name, e.g. the Souder Amendment or the Tester Amendments. We were simply referencing the provision by its common name.
NY faces its important decision ever concerning Its future for clean air and water as well as the health of its residents. It is an industry with no regulation and fraught with possibilities that would be catastrophic. Close all loopholes and get further study on this practice. Nothing is worth risking our water, air and health for now and future generations.
End the Halliburton Loophole now!
It is always gratifying to see Congress defy the lobbyists and do something good for the people. But what is going to happen if the Republicans gain even more power than they have now? The corporations run by Cheney, the Koch Bros. and Bill Gates will be even more unstoppable; the world is their private paycheck and people are collateral damage. If the folks they kill are Democrats, then it is “good riddance.”
I just read your article about the drinking water catching fire. It was later proved that was not from fracking but a naturally occurring incident in Colorado. Had I not known that I would have been frightened by your comment. Mostly, I agree with you but please make sure of the facts as it can make a difference. Regarding your work against the FDA and regulations, keep up the good work
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