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Source: The Syracuse Post-Standard

Letter to the editor: Hydraulic fracturing must be regulated

Posted: August 16, 2010
Originally Published: August 16, 2010

To the Editor:
Regarding the Aug. 10 commentary, “Anti-fracking activists mislead”:

Exemptions for the oil and gas industry are real. Hydraulic fracturing was specifically excluded from the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

In the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress excluded “the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities.”

Fracking a gas well requires injecting fluids into the ground, and a good portion of those fluids remain underground. Hydraulic fracturing is clearly underground injection and should be regulated under the SDWA.

Industry does not disclose all chemicals used for hydro-fracking, making it difficult for the public to test for contaminants. Examples of water contamination from places like Dimock, Pa., and accidents like the explosion in Clearfield County, Pa., are not anomalies and give credence to calls for removing all exemptions for the oil and gas industry, regardless of how large or small.

Federal environmental laws provide a base of protection, and states are fully empowered to adopt stronger regulations. Reversing the hydraulic fracturing exclusion from the SDWA gives citizens and states additional tools to regulate underground injection contamination and protect drinking water.

Sarah Eckel
Policy analyst,
Citizens Campaign for the Environment