Jenny Morgan of Columbus, Ohio, singing her song, "You Can't Drink Money" at the fracking protest at the Ohio statehouse today.
In addition to the infamous "Halliburton Loophole" exempting fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the gas industry benefits from a host of sweeping exemptions to our most basic environmental and public health protections. Other laws that the gas industry is exempted from include key provisions of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, CERCLA (Superfund Act), Resource Conversation and Recovery Act (hazardous waste act), and the Environmental Policy Act.
Between all these exemptions, the gas industry has often been described as completely free of all federal oversight. However, federal law does still prohibit the gas industry from one particular practice: the injection of diesel fuel as a fracking fluid. While gas companies are permitted to inject hundreds of known carcinogenic compounds as fracking fluids (without informing the public of what chemicals they are using), the Safe Drinking Water Act still mandated that gas companies not use diesel fuel as a frack fluid. But on January 31, 2011, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced their preliminary results of a year-long investigation into the practices of gas companies. The congressional investigation found that oil and gas companies injected over 32 million gallons of diesel fuel into gas wells in 19 states between 2005 and 2009—in direct violation of the one federal provision from which they were not exempt. Despite having federal laws carved to suit their profits and need for secrecy, the gas industry could not follow the one guideline it had set for itself.
Ohio House Bill 351, would regulate injection wells and create safeguards for the public and environmental health. However, House Bill 351 is stuck in the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee. We need to build support for HB 315 and let our representatives know we want them to support it.
House Bill 345, and Senate Bill 213 would put a moratorium on fracking in Ohio until the US EPA completes an impact study. Help raise awareness about these bills and support the Democrats who are sponsoring them.