To protect children from pollution from fracking, Congressman Jared Polis offered an amendment today that would provide a 1,000 foot buffer between schools and hydraulic fracturing activities. Research has found increased concentrations of airborne toxic chemical near wells.
"We need to learn more about the health impacts of fracking but we shouldn't be using schoolchildren as guinea pigs," said Polis. "This 1,000 foot buffer is a common sense solution we can put in place until we have more answers about the impacts of fracking air pollution on our children's health. We need more oil and gas production but drilling should be conducted in a way that is consistent with public health. I will keep looking for additional opportunities to get this sensible protection for children and families put into law."
The Polis amendment, which Republicans defeated on a voice vote, was offered during consideration of H.R. 4880, a bill that would hand acres of additional public lands over to oil and gas companies and eliminate federal laws aimed at protecting clean air and safeguarding public health.
A recent report by the Colorado School of Public health indicated that residents living less than a half of a mile from wells are at a greater risk of acute and chronic health problems. Those that live more than a half of a mile away were exposed to air pollutants such as benzene -- a known carcinogen -- at a level five times higher than the federal hazard standard. This and other chemicals could lead to neurological or respiratory effects that include eye irritation, headaches, sore throat and difficulty breathing.
Polis is the author of the Bringing Reductions to Energy's Airborne Toxic Health Effects (BREATHE) Act, which would address air quality and health concerns by closing loopholes that contribute to large-scale smog and ozone problems, as well as the acute health effects of drilling emissions. Polis also co-authored the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, legislation that would remove the oil and gas industry's exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act and require the disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking fluids.
In March, Polis met with residents in Erie who are concerned about fracking near homes and schools and pledged to work in Congress to curb the practice.