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Fracking does indeed harm drinking water

The Independent Oil and Gas Association’s letter in the Aug. 6 News said that fracking does not contaminate drinking water. If this were true, it would be good news for the 15 million residents who live within a mile of fracked gas wells.

The Clean Water Act could once again define frack wastewater and frack chemicals as pollutants. The fracking industry’s exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act could be reversed. The industry’s exemption from EPA regulation of hazardous substances could be reversed. The industry’s exemption from reporting releases of toxic substances to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory database could be reversed. The industry’s exemption from SEC-required independent audit of its stated oil/gas reserves could be reversed.

The judicial system could lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the many dozens of sealed agreements between gas companies and homeowners who suffered drinking water contamination following commencement of nearby fracking operations. The Sunshine Act of 2014 could become law, forcing federal judges to take the public’s interest into account before sealing future civil proceedings between frackers and homeowners. The banks could safely make loans to people buying any of the 7 million homes near fracking rigs without worry of diminished property values arising from fracking problems.

It’s clear the fracking industry worries a lot about drinking water contamination and responds by protecting its financial health by hog-tying the EPA and the SEC with regulatory exemptions. In effect, the industry tells the public: Your health be damned.

Charley Bowman

Chairman, Renewable Energy Task

Force, WNY Peace Center