Opportunity to Strengthen Federal Protections on Fracking

Opportunity to Strengthen Federal Protections on Fracking

Cheryl Kallio
Could you imagine if a business was allowed to inject a toxic mixture containing

known carcinogens into the ground, threatening to contaminate the water you and your family drink, possibly leading to serious illness? Surely not in the year 2013!
After all, we have the Safe Drinking Water Act to protect us, right? Not when it comes to fracking.

During the early 2000’s our federal decision-makers decided to exempt the injection of polluting chemicals used in the fracking industry from the Safe Drinking Water Act in addition to parts of the Clean Water Act. In other words, chemicals that are a “contaminant” according to the Safe Drinking Water Act are nownot defined
as a “contaminant” if used by the fracking industry.I know—we could rant endlessly
about how pollution is pollution no matter who does it. However, I think that
would just be “preaching to the choir” here.

What I want to tell you about is a real opportunity to try and change that.
Congress introduced legislation twice that would remove fracking’s exemption
under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Each time the legislation was defeated. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently investigating the impacts of fracking on drinking water, which the agency says is necessary to address public concerns. They will have a final report on this in 2014.

Donald Gilliland/Harrisburg Patriot-news- A Fracking Well along the Susquehanna River

Right now, they have released a progress report and are asking for input. This is one of the biggest opportunities we have had in a long time to influence federal protections related to fracking. And to be effective, EPA needs to hear from you! Specifically, the EPA is asking for the public to submit data and scientific literature to inform their research on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.

If you can or havedocumented experiences related to fracking and possible pollution to a community’s waters, let the EPA know! Do you know of a good study or story about fracking impacts to water resources? Let them know! Now is our time to provide examples that could lead to stronger protections for our waters from the impacts of fracking.

You have until November 15, 2013 to comment. Here’s how:
• Email: Send information to: ord.docket@epa.gov, Attention Docket ID No.
• Fax: Fax information to: (202) 566-9744, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQORD-
• Mail: Send information to:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket
Center, Mail code: 28221T, 1200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC,
20460, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2010-0674.
More information can be found on our website at www.freshwaterfuture.org.
We’ll be submitting comments too and would love to note your experience. If
you think there has been or will likely be pollution to waters in your area from
fracking, please let us know! You can email Cheryl@freshwaterfuture.org with
your comments.
Also, check out our water testing program.



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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.