New Legislation Closes Fracking Loophole

by Elizabeth Alford on June 18, 2015

New legislation in the U.S. Senate attempts to remove the loopholes found in the Clean Water Act that exempts some oil and gas companies that are involved in hydraulic fracturing.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced the FRESHER Act (Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydraulic-fracturing Environmental Regulation) in an effort to create consistent national standards to protect water resources.

The Clean Water Act of 1972 limits the emission of harmful materials into rivers, lakes and streams, but later amendments created exemptions in the permitting process for growing oil and gas exploration projects. Runoff from runoff from oil and gas well pads can be contaminated with dangerous pollutants and have polluted waterways in the past. The FRESHER Act would work to close this gap by requiring oil and gas companies to have a plan to protect streams from runoff and that they be held to the same standard as other industries.

“With 15 million Americans living within a mile of a well that has been drilled in the last 15 years, the loopholes oil and gas companies enjoy threaten our environment and public health,” said Senator Cardin. “Oil and gas companies that already enjoy tax breaks should be required to follow the same laws to protect our water and public health as other industries. The FRESHER Act is a needed safeguard to ensure that oil and gas companies cannot pollute our water.”

Earlier this month, the EPA released its controversial finding that there is no evidence that fracking has led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water in the United States.

Read entire bill here

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