Yesterday, Representative Arcuri of New York offered an amendment to the Oil Spill Accountability and Environmental Protection Act of 2010 to close a loophole that exempts the oil and gas construction activities from the storm water prevention permit requirement of the Clean Water Act. The amendment was approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and should head to the House floor sometime this month.
The successful repeal of this exemption will be the first in a long list of exemptions that must be repealed to make sure that oil and gas drilling is conducted in a safe, responsible manner than protects communities and the environment.
Oil and gas production is still exempt from the storm water portion of the Clean Water Act. And all of you have heard about the absurd exemption that hydraulic fracturing has from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Oil and gas producers are also exemption from our hazardous waste law (RCRA), the federal law designed to clean up sites contaminated by hazardous waste (also known as Superfund), the National Environmental Policy Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (which requires companies to report their toxic releases), and part of the Clean Air Act.
We ve got a long way to go to bring the oil and gas industry to where it needs to be, but we applaud our Congressional champions, like Congressman Arcuri, for helping protect water resources and public health from potentially destructive oil and gas operations.