Oil and Gas Industry Loopholes Targeted By Congress

Reps. Polis and Cartwright seek common sense safeguards


Jessica Ennis, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5202

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation today to close two of the loopholes that exempt the oil and gas industry from environmental laws. The BREATHE Act, introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) would close a Clean Air Act loophole and the FRESHER Act, introduced by Rep. Matthew Cartwright (D-PA) would close a Clean Water Act loophole.

"For far too long, the oil and gas industry has been allowed to cut corners, dodging critical requirements of our bedrock environmental laws."

Specifically, the BREATHE Act would repeal a Clean Air Act exemption that allows the oil and gas industry to emit more than its fair share of toxic air pollution. It would also require the industry to control its poisonous emissions of hydrogen sulfide.

The FRESHER Act would eliminate a Clean Water Act exemption that allows oil and gas to sidestep the same stormwater runoff permitting requirements that other industries meet.

The following is a statement from Earthjustice Legislative Representative Jessica Ennis:

“We applaud Reps. Polis and Cartwright for leading the way to protect Americans from air and water pollution.

“For far too long, the oil and gas industry has been allowed to cut corners, dodging critical requirements of our bedrock environmental laws. And the American people have ended up with dirtier air and water because of it. These common sense pieces of legislation introduced today by Reps. Polis and Cartwright have one basic requirement: that oil and gas companies play by the same set of rules as everyone else.

“Today’s bill introduction comes not a moment too soon: people in dozens of states are struggling right now with the consequences of a fracking-enabled oil and gas drilling rush. Members of Congress must follow the lead set by Reps. Polis and Cartwright to restore critical environmental and public health protections all Americans deserve.”

Additional Resources

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.