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July 26, Washington, D.C. — “Earthworks salutes Congressmen Matt Cartwright and Jared Huffman for introducing the CLEANER (Closing Loopholes and Ending Arbitrary and Needless Evasion of Regulations) Act today. CLEANER would help protect public health by closing an important loophole in federal oversight of the oil and gas industry. Thanks to the nationwide shale boom, now more than ever the oil and gas industry’s special exemption in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for its hazardous waste seriously concerns impacted communities.

The CLEANER Act would level the playing field by treating hazardous wastes from oil and gas exploration and production the same as hazardous wastes from any other industry.  The EPA has known for years that oil and gas wastes contain levels of arsenic, benzene, and lead that dangerously exceed health-based standards.  Yet, unless CLEANER becomes law, when these hazardous wastes come from oil and gas wells, they don’t have to be treated as hazardous.

CLEANER is a welcome part of Congressional efforts to require the oil and gas development industry to play by the same environmental rules as other industries.  Together with the FRAC and the BREATHE Acts, which would close special oil and gas loopholes in the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Air Acts, CLEANER would strengthen federal oversight of the shale gas boom and better protect communities and the environment. Our neighbors who live literally a stone’s throw away from oil and gas drilling and its toxic wastes deserve better.”