Representatives Diane DeGette and Jared Polis are taking another run at tightening federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, a natural gas drilling technique also known as fracking. Introduced this week by the Colorado twosome and fellow Democratic rep Maurice Hinchey from New York, the bill would remove the oil and gas industry's exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act and require drillers to disclose the chemicals used during fracking to state and federal regulators.
The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (FRAC Act) is nearly identical to one proposed by DeGette last year that failed in committee. This revived attempt, says a Polis spokesperson, is motivated in part by high-profile media coverage that the drilling practice has received in the past year. The activist documentary Gasland, which was nominated for an Academy Award, and investigations published by Vanity Fair and the New York Times have pushed fracking to the top of the environmentalist agenda.
Anticipating a new round of legislative battles, the oil and gas industry is already lobbying hard against the fracking bill, arguing that federal, state and local regulations already "cover everything from initial permits to well construction to water protection."
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