U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) Wednesday introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, which would increase environmental protections for communities where natural gas drilling takes place.
Specifically the bill would require drillers to disclose the chemicals that go into the ground during the hydraulic fracturing process and close a 2005 loophole that prevents the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from conducting rigorous oversight of hydraulic fracturing which occurs during natural gas drilling.
“Communities can benefit from job creation and economic development that comes with natural gas extraction, but we need to get this right. There is no reason that we should be forced to choose among adequate environmental protection, energy security and economic gain,” Sen. Casey said. “Pennsylvania has a long tradition of valuing the environment. Our Commonwealth’s commitment to environmental protection is ingrained in our state’s constitution. This is a commonsense approach that will aid communities and allow our state to continue to be a leader in energy sources.”
The FRAC Act will require that the natural gas industry provide complete disclosure of the chemical composition of hydraulic fracturing materials prior to and after hydraulic fracturing. This information will then be made public on a website. Disclosure will ensure that if drinking water supplies, surface waters, or human health are compromised, the public and first responders will be properly informed.
Further, the FRAC Act will require that hydraulic fracturing be once again included under the Safe Drinking Water Act, simply ensuring that a consistent set of requirements will be applied to the development of our resources.At the time of introduction, co-sponsors included Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).