Why is fracking exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and five other bedrock environmental laws?
In 2005, thanks to oil and gas industry lobbying, the EPA was stripped of its authority to regulate fracking. It’s called the Halliburton loophole.
And now EPA research has finally concluded what we’ve suspected all along: fracking puts our drinking water at risk.1
Since 2005, We’ve permitted the oil and gas industry to frack more than 137,000 wells.2
These fracking operations have used at least 6 billion pounds of chemicals, many of them potential carcinogens, many injected directly into the ground near drinking water supplies.3
We know that at least 157 of the chemicals used in fracking fluid are toxic to humans and aquatic life. And we know that fracking produces billions of gallons of fracking fluid waste each year.
Why then is fracking exempt from any environmental laws?
The EPA is not allowed to regulate hydraulic fracturing like it does other energy industries, via safety regulations stemming from key environmental laws like the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act.
Thanks to a provision that was tacked on to the 2005 Energy Policy Act, the EPA was stripped of its authority to regulate fracking. This exemption was nicknamed the Halliburton loophole, named for the company that patented fracking in the 1940’s and remains one of the largest manufacturers of fracking fluids.4
It was wrong then and it’s wrong now — especially when we should be making a wholesale shift to conservation and renewable energy.
Environment America Federal Legislative Director
1. Fighting Fracking: A Toolkit for Activists, Environment America Research and Policy Center, Dec 12, 2016
2. Fracking by the Numbers, Environment America Research and Policy Center, April 2016
3. Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas: Impacts from the Hydraulic Fracturing Water Cycle on Drinking Water Resources in the United States (Final Report), Dec 19, 2016
4. The Halliburton Loophole, The New York Ti Directormes, Nov 2, 2009
Enviromental America – Legislative Director: Anna Aurilio – 08/13/2017