In Massachusetts, natural gas is the source of about half of our electricity. We have a responsibility to ensure that the drilling companies that extract the natural gas from underground use methods that are safe and that they publicly disclose the chemicals they use in the process.
Natural gas may be cleaner than coal, but that doesn't mean it's clean. Getting natural gas out from underground by the process called hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) can pollute the air and poison people's drinking water. Drilling companies don't even have to tell us what chemicals they're injecting into the ground to force the gas out. Dangerous unregulated fracking is a public health hazard and it has to stop.
Although dangerous unregulated fracking doesn't happen in Massachusetts, there is something we can do to stop it. We can require the power companies to certify that the natural gas they use in Massachusetts complies with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act's underground injection control program requirements.
Until Congress did the industry a huge favor by creating a loophole in 2005, those federal regulations covered fracking. Closing that loophole at the federal level is essential. But we can't afford to wait for Congress. We have to get to work at the state level.
That's why it's so important for the Massachusetts Legislature to pass the Act to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing, which would require power companies to (a) publicly disclose all the chemicals that the drillers used in obtaining the natural gas, and (b) certify that the extraction process complied with the Safe Drinking Water Act's underground injection control program requirements, the rules that used to regulate fracking before 2005.
By signing this petition we're telling Massachusetts lawmakers to ensure that the natural gas coming into the state was extracted safely and that the public knows what chemicals the drilling companies used in the process.
For the sake of clean air and safe drinking water, let's beat back fracking in Massachusetts!
So I am asking you to support Representative Sean Garballey's Act to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing, which would require power companies using natural gas in Massachusetts to (a) disclose the chemicals that the drilling companies used to extract the gas and (b) certify that the process complied with the pre-2005 Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.
The federal Safe Drinking Water Act used to cover hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) but in 2005, under pressure from parts of the fossil fuels industry, Congress carved out an exemption. That loophole allows drilling companies to pump toxic chemicals underground without clearance from state environmental agencies and without even disclosing the names and quantities of the chemicals. This is a public health nightmare. Releasing dangerous gases into the air and polluting the aquifers that provide drinking water in neighboring states is completely unacceptable.
Even though it is a federal loophole that allows dangerous unregulated fracking, this proposed state law (the Act to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing) would go some way to fixing the problem. We in Massachusetts all enjoy the benefits of electricity, so we need to take responsibility for the way it is produced.
Thank you for your time, attention, and ongoing public service.