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Fracking skirts federal environmental laws

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The Federal Energy Policy Bill of 2005 amended the Underground Injection Control provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water, to exclude fracking. It also exempted fracking operations from:

1) The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) — promotes efforts to prevent damage to the environment. The public now has to prove significant harm to challenge anything on the basis of NEPA violations.

2) The Clean Water Act — regulates discharges of pollutants into water. Now fracking materials are exempt from being considered a pollutant.

3) The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) — regulates hazardous and solid wastes. Now anything that is produced during the removal of produced water, including used fracking fluids, are exempt.

4) The Clean Air Act — regulates air emissions. Oil and gas wells and some compressor and pump stations are exempt from regulation of air emissions.

5) The Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act — established the Superfund program. Now the oil and gas industry are exempt from the Superfund.

6) The Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act — helps local communities protect public health, safety and the environment from chemical hazards. Now the oil and gas industry is exempt from reporting releases of toxic materials.

Ask your legislators why fracking is exempt from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act and all the other existing federal environmental laws that have protected us and our environment for decades.

Debra Norwalk

Evans Mills

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