Following Fracking: Hydrofracking Has Just Begun

As FAN’s webinar, “There’s Something in the Water: The Challenge of Hydrofracking,” demonstrated, many questions about this form of energy extraction remain. In further conversation with presenter Prof. Rob Jackson, PhD of Duke University, he responded to participants’ questions with the following suggestions:

Advocacy: Rob asked FAN to emphasize the priority of state and local policy, especially in the absence of sufficient federal regulations. (You can review Rob’s specific policy recommendations on the webinar slides and in his white paper and op-ed featured on FAN’s homepage or at http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/cgc/.) Regardless of one’s position on hydrofracking generally (e.g. support for a moratorium or for regulation), we can all advocate for stronger local and state rules that protect people. Rob encourages faith communities to work with Homeowners Associations and grassroots organizations in order to share information and connect those who have been or may be affected by hydrofracking.

Education: Parishes and faith communities can serve as excellent conduits of information, such as guidelines for leasing agreements. These communities can also collectively pressure companies to disclose their plans and hold them accountable for their commitments to the public welfare.

Reconciliation: As Sr. Caryn’s presentation on the application of the Canticle of the Creatures to hydrofracking addressed, and as Rob confirms from his studies and personal experience, hydrofracking can divide friends and families, even those living on adjacent properties. Parishes can provide access to counseling services, a listening ear, prayer and sacramental grace to heal and sustain relationships across these divisions.

Although Rob emphasized the importance of state and local policy, there are also several ways to address federal policy:

Opportunities for Federal Engagement

EPA STUDY

2010: Congressional Appropriations Committee asked EPA to study the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources

Two prospective studies: Haynesville Shale, DeSoto Parish, LA, with Chesapeake. Marcellus Shale, Washington County, PA, with Range Resources.

Five retrospective studies: Killdeer, Dunn County, ND (oil shale). Barnett Shale, Wise and Benton County, TX; Marcellus Shale, Bradford in Susquehanna County, PA and Washington County, PA (gas shales). Raton Basin, Las Animas County, CO (coal bed methane site).

To connect with the study, contact: Jeanne Briskin, EPA Office of Science Policy (briskin.jeanne@epa.gov)

To report dumping and other illegal or suspicious disposal practices: eyesondrilling@epa.gov or 877-919-4372

EPA PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

July 28, 2011: EPA proposed amendments to air regulations for the oil and natural gas industry

Read a fact sheet on the proposals: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/pdfs/20110728factsheet.pdf

Submit comments to the EPA: Reference Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505

•             Online: http://www.regulations.gov

•             Email: a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov

•             Fax: (202) 566-9744

•             Mail: Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center

Environmental Protection Agency

Mail Code:  2822T

1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC  20460

FRAC Acts (S. 587, H.R. 1084)

Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness Act (FRAC Act) – S. 587, H.R. 1084

•             Introduced March 15, 2011

•             Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal the exemption from restrictions on underground injection of fluids or propping agents granted to oil and gas hydraulic fracturing operations

•             Requires operators to disclose to state chemicals intended and actually used in underground injection

•             Requires state to disclose chemicals to public

•             Requires disclosure of chemical identity of a trade secret chemical only as necessary for medical treatment

•             Ask your Senators and Representative to support the FRAC Act (Call Capitol Switchboard at 202 224 3121).

•             Search bill number at http://thomas.loc.gov to read the full text.

Please visit FAN’s homepage for additional resources related to this webinar.

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