Ryan pushes for increased transparency of hydraulic fracturing
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, has cosponsored the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (FRAC Act), a bipartisan bill that establishes common sense safeguards to protect groundwater from risks associated with the oil and gas drilling technique “hydraulic fracturing,” better known as “fracking.”
The FRAC Act would require disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking fluids and would remove the oil and gas industry’s exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
“There’s no denying that there are immense climate-related benefits and economic benefits associated with the transition to natural gas, particularly here in Ohio. Even still, we must be vigilant ensuring that such benefits do not come at the expense of the health and wellness of our communities. We as lawmakers must make sure natural gas recovery is done in a way that puts community health front and center,” said Ryan. “I am proud to support this common sense legislation to promote the responsible development of natural gas.”
The FRAC Act would:
Require disclosure of the chemical constituents used in the fracturing process.
Disclosure would be to the state, or to EPA, but only if EPA has primary enforcement responsibility in the state. The disclosures would then be made available to the public online.
Proprietary chemical formulas are protected under the bill – much like the way Coca-Cola must reveal the ingredients of Coke, but not their secret formula; oil and gas companies would have to reveal the chemicals but not the specific formula.
This bill does include an emergency provision that requires these proprietary chemical formulas to be disclosed to a treating physician, the State, or EPA in emergency situations where the information is needed to provide medical treatment.
Repeal a provision added to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempting the industry from complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), one of our landmark environmental and public health protection statutes.
Most states have primacy over these types of wells, and the intent of this Act is to allow states to ensure that our drinking water is safe. EPA would set the standard, but a state would be able to incorporate hydraulic fracturing into the existing permitting process for each well, and so this would not require any new permitting process.