DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Matt Cartwright
Sent By:
joseph.vukovich@mail.house.gov

Date: 4/5/2017

Protect Public Health and the Environment:

Cosponsor the FRESHER and CLEANER Acts

 

115th Congress Cosponsors (38): Beyer, Blumenauer, Capuano, Clarke, Connolly, Cummings, DeFazio, DelBene, DeGette, Ellison, Eshoo, Grijalva, Huffman, Keating, Langevin, Barbara Lee, Loebsack, Lowenthal, Lynch, McCollum, Moulton,
Meng, Nadler, Napolitano, Norton, Pocan, Polis, Quigley, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, Schiff, Bobby Scott, Slaughter, Smith, Speier, Takano, Tsongas, Watson Coleman

114th Congress Cosponsors (88): Bass, Beyer, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Brady, Corrine Brown, Capps, Capuano, Castor, Chu, Clark, Cleaver, Cohen, Connolly, Cummings,  Susan Davis, DeFazio, DeGette, DelBene, Edwards, Ellison, Eshoo,
Farr. Grayson, Grijalva, Alcee Hastings, Denny Heck, Higgins, Honda,  Huffman, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Hank Johnson, Keating, Kilmer, Kuster, Larson, Langevin, Barbara Lee, Lewis, Lieu, Loebsack, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Lynch, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney,
Matsui, McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, Meng, Nadler, Napolitano, Nolan, Norton, Pingree, Pocan, Polis
, Price, Quigley, Rangel, Roybal-Allard, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, Schiff, Bobby Scott, Serrano, Sherman, Sires, Slaughter, Swalwell, Adam
Smith, Speier, Takano, Tonko, Tsongas, Vargas, Van Hollen, Velazquez, Waters, Watson Coleman, Welch, Yarmuth

Organizations that have endorsed these bills include: Clean Water Action, League of Conservation Voters, Earthjustice, Natural Resources, Defense Council, Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Protection, Breast Cancer
Action, Earthworks, Environment America, WildEarth Guardians, Klamath Forest Alliance, Epic-Environmental Protection Information Center, Center for Environmental Health, The Sierra Club, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Mujeres de la Tierra, Jean-Michel Cousteau’s
Ocean Futures Society, and many more

 

Dear Colleague:

Recent technological developments have led to an oil and gas boom that has brought us closer to energy independence, created jobs, lowered fuel prices, and generated incredible profits for oil and gas companies.  However, unnecessary exemptions in our most
vital environmental and public health laws still exist which allow oil and gas companies to play by their own set of rules.

Although America’s energy and economic future requires oil and gas exploration, development can and should be done responsibly with consideration of the environment and our health.  Approximately 30 states contain active oil and gas production enterprises,
and more than 15 million Americans live within a mile of a well that has been drilled since 20000: Consistent national standards are needed to protect air and water resources.

The oil and gas industry is currently exempted from complying key provisions of environmental protection law.  The FRESHER and CLEANER Acts would remove those exemptions, putting the oil and gas companies on equal footing with other industries and protecting
our environment.

 

The FRESHER Act

The preservation of our clean water is one of the most fundamental environmental issues we face in our time, and something which cuts through political divides. Today, however, oil and gas operators are exempted from the basic protections afforded by the
Clean Water Act.  The effect of this potentially endangers our environment.

The FRESHER (Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation) Act, co-led by Jared Polis, closes the loophole for oil and gas companies in the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, sought to limit the emission of harmful materials into rivers, lakes and streams. The bill’s stated goal is hindered by amendments made to the bill in 1987 and 2005, which created exemptions for growing oil and gas exploration
projects. These new amendments allow the oil and gas industries to circumvent the laws every other industry follows that protect our waterways despite the fact that the runoff from oil and gas well pads and related infrastructure can be contaminated with dangerous
pollutants. Such runoff can and has polluted waterways – degrading water quality, and damaging aquatic habitats.  Obtaining a permit is a straight forward process, and this bill would only seek to require oil and gas companies to have a plan to protect streams
from runoff and acquire this simple permit.

Additionally, FRESHER would create a study to better understand the effect of storm water runoff from oil and gas operations.

 

The CLEANER ACT

Currently, federal regulations governing the safe disposal of hazardous waste explicitly exempt oil and natural gas producers and geothermal energy.  This means that fracking waste materials are not subject to the standards established in 1976 by Congress
and the EPA, under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), even though these wastes contain dangerous substances including benzene, acids, lead and other heavy metals, petrochemicals such as diesel fuel, and radioactive materials.  These specific
exemptions are the result of a 1980 amendment passed during an oil crisis amidst fears of harming a fragile oil industry.  This amendment is now out of date and unnecessary.

RCRA Subtitle C subjects other industries that produce hazardous waste to strict regulations which govern how this waste must be disposed of.  These common sense regulations protect our health and environment and other industries have complied with these
regulations for decades.  However if waste JUST AS TOXIC is produced by the oil and gas industry it does not even have to be tested to determine toxicity and much looser rules and protocols determine how the industry stores and disposes of its waste.

The CLEANER (Closing Loopholes and Ending Arbitrary and Needless Evasion of Regulations) Act, co-led by Jared Huffman, eliminates this hazardous exemption and forces oil and gas companies and geothermal to play by the same rules as other
industries.

For more information about the CLEANER or FRESHER Acts, or to become a cosponsor, please contact Joseph.Vukovich@mail.house.gov in Congressman Cartwright’s office.

 

Sincerely,

Matt Cartwright

Member of Congress