In his State of the Union speech, President Obama promised that drilling and fracking for natural gas would happen "without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk." But oil and gas companies are trying to get Obama to go back on his word.
The Obama administration is preparing rules that could make it easier for communities to protect themselves from the toxic chemicals pumped into the ground during fracking. But the oil and gas industry is lobbying hard to dramatically weaken the rules -- and in recent statements, the administration has signaled that it may have to cave to industry demands.
The oil and gas industry has gotten used to operating in the shadows for too long -- hiding chemical information, fighting against right-to-know laws, silencing families who speak out.
We need to push back! Remind the President of the promise he made to all of us -- that fracking for natural gas wouldn't come at the expense of people's health.
During your State of the Union speech, I was glad to hear your promise that drilling and fracking for natural gas would happen "without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk."
[Your comments will be inserted here.]
As the Department of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency prepare to issue regulations on fracking chemical disclosure, I am writing you to remind you of this promise.
Unfortunately, the proposed DOI rule regarding fracking on public lands does not require fracking companies to disclose chemicals before they are pumped into the ground. In its final rule, your administration must require pre-fracking chemical disclosure -- a critical measure that would give nearby communities time to test and monitor water supplies for any fracking-related water pollution.
Upcoming rules from EPA under the Toxic Substance Control Act must also place a priority on protecting public health by requiring industry to submit data on fracking chemical health and safety studies, common mixtures of substances used in fracking and constituents used in other components of the gas production process, such as drilling muds.
Keeping your promise to the American public is not only the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do. The public is rightfully skeptical of an industry that demands so much secrecy. And if your administration's rules fail to make available critical information that will protect public health, it will only further undermine public confidence in this industry.
I know the oil and gas industry has been pressuring you to propose and finalize weakened rules. But I am counting on you to make the right decision.
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