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Diana DeGette Is Not Fracking Fooling Around

A new front in the battles over the future of America’s energy policy opened up in Congress this week, with legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Diana DeGette. H.R. 2766, also known as the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2009, or simply the FRAC Act, would grant the Environmental Protection Agency the power to regulate the process of hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking.

diana degette frackingFracking is part of the process for drilling for natural gas. Water containing fracking fluid is forced down into the ground at high pressure, creating cracks in rock through which natural gas then escapes. What’s in fracking fluid? Nobody knows for certain, except for people working for Halliburton, which creates the fluid. Currently, there is a special exemption for fracking fluid that allows Halliburton to keep the contents of the fluid a secret from the public, even though fracking fluid is believed to contain many chemicals that are dangerous to human beings. In the fracking process, ground water used to drinking often becomes contaminated with fracking fluid, so it’s an important issue.

The FRAC Act requires the disclosure of the contents of fracking fluid, and so would give communities the power to make informed decisions about whether to create local laws to regulate natural gas drilling. The legislation is cosponsored by Jared Polis and Maurice Hinchey. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Bob Casey, and has been cosponsored by Charles Schumer.

6 comments to Diana DeGette Is Not Fracking Fooling Around

  • Tom

    Yep, like other mining operations, they are exempt from polluting the earth for profit. Nice, hunh? Now we have to waste Congressional time and expend money (probably) to correct this obvious flaw(to anyone who cares about their environment). If their lobbyists succeed in getting the act shelved then we’ll have to clean up their mess (if it’s even possible) with yet more public money (that we don’t have).

  • John Keck

    “In the fracking process, ground water used to drinking often becomes contaminated with fracking fluid, so it’s an important issue.”

    As a former district engineer for an oilfield service company, I would like to see some documentation of the above statement. Producing formations are normally found 8-10,000 feet under the surface. Aquifers, which produce drinking water are 1,000 to 2000 feet underground. Facturing only fracs rocks in the immediate location. It does not frac 8,000 feet above it. Otherwise the technique would be useless. This means that fracing does not contaminate aquifers because thousands of feet of solid rock separate frac fluids from aquifers.

  • Carol

    The contamination of drinking water aquifers and wells is not an issue for Trenton Black River formation drilling/fracking…. it’s the Marcellus Shale drilling and fracking at 2,000 to 3,500 ft depth that is of major concern. Already there are documented cases of contamination in PA as well as CO.

  • Justin Glier

    The EPA has found that hydraulic fracturing is not a threat to drinking water. Look on their website for their coalbed methane study from 2002.

    Green Man, I love the environment. Truly. But I also believe that what you are saying in based on an indiscriminant disdain for the fossil fuel industry rather than fact. I understand not wanting oil and gas,but the arguement that fraccing (not fracking, by the way) is a threat to drinking water doesn’t have scientific merit.

    Its bad journalism to mislead the public on fear
    (you ridicule the Bush administration for, no?) so isn’t it hypocritical to do this yourself?

    • Wait a minute, Justin. The subject here is whether certain companies should be allowed to keep a special loophole evading legal requirements to disclose to the public what is contained in fracking fluids (the very word “fracking” is a slang shortening, Justin, which many people spell in that way, though others use the phonetically misleading spelling of fracing or fraccing – look around at the common usage). YOU say, based on coalbed methane study, that we ought not to worry about fracking in shale formations. That doesn’t seem to be a very rigorous scientific approach.

      It seems quite questionable to declare that a process using a fluid with a chemical composition that remains secret poses no environmental threat. A good scientific process doesn’t rely on secrecy, but openness.

      Why are you opposed to allowing the public to know what’s in fracking fluid? What is there to fear in letting people know, if there truly is no harm?

  • Kevin

    “This means that fracing does not contaminate aquifers because thousands of feet of solid rock separate frac fluids from aquifers.”

    and of course when we drill a hole its perfectly sealed on nothing ever comes back up the sides of the casing and leaks into upper layers. because gas does not move around that easily.

    and we ALWAYS pump concrete around the producing wells.

    (except when we don’t)

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