The U.S. House of Representatives voted again today on legislation granting favors to the oil and gas industry. Among other things, today’s bill would prevent the Department of the Interior from enforcing federal regulations on federal lands and delay a federal study of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The controversial practice—in which drillers blast millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to force oil and gas from underground deposits—has been linked to air and water pollution and public health problems.
By a vote of 235–187, House members approved HR 2728, the second in a series of pro-industry, anti-environment bills up for a vote this week. None of the bills are expected to be taken up by the U.S. Senate.
Among other things, the bill would:
- Delay the Environmental Protection Agency’s study on impacts of fracking
- Eliminate baseline federal protections for public lands from fracking
- Keep important data about water contamination from families living on and near fracking sites
The following is a statement from Earthjustice Senior Legislative Representative Jessica Ennis:
“Earlier today the House of Representatives approved a public lands giveaway to the oil and gas industry. Today they’re standing in the way of important research into fracking impacts, keeping critical public health data from families who live near fracking sites, and eliminating baseline federal protections for this air and water polluting practice.
“This continued pattern of secrecy surrounding and de-regulation of the fracking industry has resulted in a steady stream of public health and safety problems—problems our leaders should be fixing instead of worsening.
“With recent polls showing opposition to fracking growing even higher, and voters in Colorado approving a series of bans on the practice, the House Majority Leadership is demonstrating, once again, how out of touch with voters it’s become.”