Hinchey to reintroduce bill to federally regulate fracing

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 17--US Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY) said he will reintroduce legislation to federally regulate hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Reps. Rush D. Holt (D-NJ) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who are cosponsors, attended a news conference with Hinchey, who was joined by movie actor Mark Ruffalo and documentary filmmaker Josh Fox.

“If hydraulic fracturing is so safe, why is the industry so afraid of letting the EPA make sure? If the chemicals they are using aren't seeping into people's drinking water, why is the industry so afraid of a requirement that they tell us what they are injecting into the ground?” said Hinchey. “This is the same industry that lied about their use of diesel fuel in the fracing process, and there is no reason to expect that they'll change their ways anytime soon.”

Hinchey said the bill would require disclosure of chemicals used in the fracing fluid. He and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) cosponsored similar legislation during the 111th Congress’s first and second sessions.

Ruffalo, who lives in Hinchey’s district, has starred in “Just Like Heaven”, “The Brothers Bloom”, and other movies. Fox directed “Gasland”, which has been nominated for an Academy Award as best documentary.

In a response, Daniel Whitten, America’s natural Gas Alliance executive vice-president for communications, said that the group disagrees with Hinchey’s statement that federal fracing regulation is needed.

“We continue to believe that state regulatory agencies have the appropriate expertise and on-the-ground experience to conduct effective oversight of natural gas production activities specific to their local geology,” Whitten said.

“Additionally, the natural gas community has stepped forward and pledged its support for public disclosure of the chemical components used in the hydraulic fracturing process. This is a new and positive development since this legislation was last introduced,” Whitten continued. “This disclosure will occur through a public online registry being developed by state regulators who are responsible for protecting local water and ensuring responsible development of gas in their communities. It is expected to launch next month.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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