U.S. Congressman John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.) today applauded Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's announcement of a proposed rule that would end the unregulated use of harmful hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, chemicals on public and Indian lands.
"For years, industry has been hiding the ball when it comes to the chemicals they use during fracking," said Congressman Sarbanes. "We need increased transparency to ensure the safety of our drinking water and to protect the health of American families and the environment. It is my hope that we will soon apply this standard to all fracking operations whether on public or private lands."
"There is great promise for natural gas to be the bridge that takes us from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Because natural gas is such an abundant energy source, it is critical that we set policies protecting public health in the areas where natural gas is extracted," the Congressman concluded.
Currently, there is no oversight for the contents of fracking fluid used by drilling companies. When exploring for natural gas, these companies inject thousands of gallons of potentially harmful chemicals into public lands, creating wastewater that may contaminate freshwater tributaries throughout the country. The Interior Department's proposed a rule would require all fracking operators to disclose the chemicals they use on public lands.
At a Natural Resources Committee hearing earlier this year, Congressman Sarbanes expressed his concern about the unmonitored use of fracking chemicals to Secretary Salazar and called on the Department to implement a measure to disclose these chemicals to the public.