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March 14th, Washington, D.C. — “Earthworks salutes Representatives Jared Polis and Matt Cartwright for introducing the BREATHE and FRESHER acts today, legislation that would help protect public health by closing loopholes in federal environmental oversight of the oil and gas industry.

Emerging science shows that air pollution from the oil and gas shale boom is harming people that live nearby, in addition to contributing to climate change. Thanks to a special interest loophole in the Clean Air Act, we are powerless to control much of that pollution. The BREATHE act would protect communities by requiring oil and gas drilling and fracking follow the same rules as other industries.

The FRESHER act would eliminate a threat to rivers and streams by closing a Clean Water Act loophole that exempts oil and gas companies from managing stormwater runoff, a basic rule that every homeowner in America is required to follow.

The oil and gas industry justifies their special interest loopholes by claiming that the states are the proper place for oversight.  But new research shows states annually inspect less than half of active oil and gas wells. And the same research shows that when violations are found, violators are not punished. 

Oil and gas companies should play by the same rules as other industries. Especially when special treatment threatens our health, air and water. And that’s why the BREATHE  and FRESHER acts are necessary.”