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Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

A Climate Bill Halliburton Will Love

Monday, April 5, 2010

By EWG Communications Director Alex Formuzis

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Finally, our climate change champions in the U.S. Senate are defending the long-suffering natural gas industry from the latest round of ridiculously burdensome drinking water protections.  From what we hear the Senate’s draft climate bill may call for no regulation of the industry under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  It’s about time.

After all, is it really fair that natural gas drilling is only exempt from the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and our federal hazardous waste law?  Think about it.  The environmental community is actually contemplating a requirement that natural gas drillers tell the public about the chemicals that they are potentially injecting into their groundwater.  Next thing you know they’ll pass rules that require protection of drinking water from these chemicals.  Legislation requiring us to import all of the nation’s natural gas from Iran can’t be far behind.

Mike Soraghan reported on Greenwire/New York Times (March 23) that:

BP America Inc. and two other oil and gas companies are lobbying for the new Senate climate and energy bill to recommend against federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing.

And their efforts may be successful. The latest draft of the climate and energy bill being written by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) reportedly includes language saying U.S. EPA would not regulate the oil and gas drilling technique.

This development comes two weeks after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to study the risks fracking might pose to drinking water. And it comes in the middle of efforts to protect water across the nation from reckless natural gas and oil drilling, including New York City’s fight to stop drilling and fracking in the upstate watershed that provides the city’s drinking water.  City officials estimate that if drilling were to contaminate their water, they would have to spend $20 billion or more to build a filtration plant.

If fracking is safe, as the industry claims, why should companies have trouble complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act?

And if our elected officials were serious about protecting our natural resources, why would they use one piece of environmental legislation to undo another?

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