CONTRIBUTED BY OFFICE OF DIANA DEGETTE
In an effort to better protect the nation’s water supply, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced legislation Thursday to close a notorious loophole in the law that has prevented the federal government from regulating a highly controversial drilling process known as “fracking.”
The legislation – known as the FRAC Act – would, for the first time, require fracking 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.”
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.
The provision, which was included in the bill at the behest of then-Vice President Dick Cheney, who before becoming vice president was the CEO of Halliburton – the company that invented the fracking process – stripped the EPA of its authority to regulate fracking and is known, today, as the “Halliburton loophole.”
DeGette’s bill would close the so-called Halliburton loophole and give the EPA the authority to regulate the fracking process going forward.