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Public Statements

Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HINCHEY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the gentleman's amendment, which would prohibit hydraulic fracturing on public lands from taking place within 1,000 feet of our schools. This major industrial activity has significant public health risks and has no business being near our kids.

Hydraulically fractured wells emit huge quantities of smog-forming chemicals, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants like benzene, as well as methane. These pollutants cause serious health problems.

This past March, the Colorado School of Public Health released a report based on 3 years of monitoring that found higher cancer, respiratory, and neurological health risks among people living closest to drilling sites. The analysis found volatile organic chemicals to be five times the level at which the emissions are considered potentially harmful to public health, according to EPA's hazard index.

The Medical Society of New York has recently urged caution with expanded drilling because of concerns about health impacts. And data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has shown increased ground level ozone and other pollution as a result of fracking.

But the risks go beyond just air quality. In April 2010, there was a major blowout in Pennsylvania at a hydraulic fracturing well site. Gas and tainted brine spewed 75 feet in the air for 16 hours. These kinds of blowouts happen far too often.

Even the best regulated activities have accidents; but fracking, as we all know, is far from the best regulated activities. We need to keep it away from our kids. It shouldn't be done near our schools, and I urge support for the gentleman's amendment.


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