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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jul 26, 2013 2:28 PM Flag

    House Dems push bill to end oil and gas waste exemption

    House Dems push bill to end oil and gas waste exemption

    Zack Colman - 07/26/13 12:28 PM ET

    A pair of House Democrats floated legislation Thursday that would end the oil and gas industry’s exemption to a federal waste disposal law, which could have implications for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

    “Under current federal law, oil and gas companies do not even have to test their waste to see if it is toxic, leaving us with no way of knowing what is being disposed of and how it is being treated. It is time oil and gas companies comply with existing minimum standards and oversight,” Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), a bill co-sponsor, said in a Friday statement.

    Opponents of the controversial drilling method want to restrict use of “pools” that hold large amounts of fracking waste that they worry will leak and seep chemicals into the ground. They also have concerns about waste injection wells, in which oil and gas firms pump drilling waste underground for storage.

    The bill from Cartwright and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) would excise an amendment to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that excludes waste from exploration and development of oil and natural gas from being covered under the law.

    The bill, which has 43 Democratic co-sponsors and also covers the geothermal industry, will likely face roadblocks in the GOP-controlled House.

    Republicans in the lower chamber have taken aim at draft Interior Department regulations governing fracking on federal land and have criticized the Environmental Protection Agency's reviews of possible water pollution from fracking.

    While Republicans will likely reject the bill, the measure earned plaudits from green groups for its potential to strengthen regulations on fracking.

    “Fracking is an inherently risky process, and this bill would ensure that the toxic waste it produces is covered by the landmark law that governs the safe disposal of hazardous materials,” said Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director wi

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