Safe Energy Future Plan would end preferential treatment for oil and gas polluters

Five bills introduced today would require oil and gas industry to abide by same rules as other industries

Washington D.C. — Today Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) introduced a legislative package, collectively dubbed the Safe Energy Future Plan, in response to flagrant oil and gas loopholes that degrade our air, water, climate, and health.

The five separate bills in the plan would close these loopholes in the Safe Drinking Water Act, RCRA (regulating hazardous and other waste), the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act.

“The Safe Energy Future Plan would end the oil and gas industry’s preferential treatment by closing key loopholes in our bedrock environmental laws that allow this industry to privately profit at the expense of public health. All polluting industries should play by the same rules,” said Earthworks’ Policy Director Lauren Pagel. “Even after passage, we must remember that avoiding catastrophic climate change requires a complete switch to a renewable energy economy as soon as humanly possible, if not sooner.”

“For too long, the oil and gas industry has enjoyed exemptions from the laws created to protect people,” said Alison Kelly, Land and Wildlife Attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The industry must not be allowed to continue jeopardizing our clean air, safe drinking water and communities. These bills will finally close dangerous, long-standing loopholes in our nation’s most fundamental public health and environmental protection laws.”

The Safe Energy Future Plan consists of:

  • FRAC (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals) Act: The fracking industry does not currently have to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act when injecting toxic pollution through or near drinking water sources, unlike other industries. Sponsored by Congresswoman DeGette (D-CO), this bill would close the Safe Drinking Water Act loophole and require oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals they use in fracking.
  • BREATHE (Bringing Reductions to Energy's Airborne Toxic Health Effects) Act: The oil and gas industry is currently exempt from a Clean Air Act provision that requires small, individual sources of toxic air pollution in the same area to be aggregated together and regulated as a major pollution source. Sponsored by Congressman Polis (D-CO) and Congressman Cartwright (D-PA), this would close that loophole to better protect public health.
  • FRESHER (Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation) Act: The Clean Water Act has important provisions designed to ensure control of stormwater runoff that carries pollutants that can contaminate our water, unless the runoff comes from an oil and gas development facility. Sponsored by Congressman Cartwright (D-PA), the FRESHER Act would close that loophole.
  • SHARED (Safe Hydration is an American Right in Energy Development) Act: This bill would require oil and gas operators to do baseline water testing before operations begin so that affected communities can more easily determine if water pollution originates from oil and gas development. It is sponsored by Congresswoman Schakowsky (D-IL).
  • CLEANER (Closing Loopholes and Ending Arbitrary and Needless Evasion of Regulations) Act: This bill closes a loophole in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that exempts toxic waste from oil and gas exploration and production from regulations that apply to other hazardous wastes. It is sponsored by Congressman Cartwright.