Our nation is on a perilous course, which, unless reversed quickly, poses a profound threat to public health and our environment. Legislation called the NAT GAS Act has been introduced in Congress that would, if passed and signed into law, accelerate the pace of this destructive path by shackling our country to a ruinous energy policy.
A relatively little known technology invented by Halliburton called hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” is being heralded as a “safe" way to extract what the industry is calling America’s new “clean" energy – natural gas. DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE: FRACKING IS DANGEROUS AND THERE IS NOTHING CLEAN ABOUT FRACKED NATURAL GAS.
As revealed in documentary films such as Gasland, studies like the Hazen and Sawyer report commissioned by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and articles like the recent New York Times investigation, evidence of serious toxic hazard caused by hydraulic fracturing is irrefutable and overwhelming. Because of provisions in the 2005 energy bill – known as the "Halliburton loophole" - fracking is not only legal, it is exempted from laws like the Safe Drinking Water Act, that were intended to protect us from this sort of practice. 42 USC 15801, Sec. 322 and 323.
Fracking involves injecting a mix of millions of gallons of water, sand and tons of toxic chemicals deep underground at very high pressure. Some of this deadly cocktail returns to the surface and is further laden with radiation and volatile organic compounds. It is hazardous waste, and untreatable; however, because of the Halliburton loophole, the produced hazardous waste is frequently released into our ecosystem in careless and thoughtless ways, poisoning our environment and sickening our citizens. With the gas industry planning to frack tens of thousands more wells in more than 30 states, the drinking water, air, food supply, and health of millions of Americans is now very much in jeopardy.
Led by T. Boone Pickens, the oil and gas industry is currently spending a fortune lobbying Congress for the NAT GAS Act, which provides tax incentives for fleets of natural gas powered heavy-duty trucks and vehicles and the associated infrastructure. If the NAT GAS Act becomes law, it will create a tremendous increase in the demand for fracked natural gas and will shackle our country to an energy policy that depends on this dangerous drilling practice for decades to come. This is the wrong choice for America.
Urge President Obama and members of Congress to withdraw support for the NAT GAS Act and reject any federal subsidies or incentives for natural gas unless and until shale gas drilling is proven safe. Let them know we want a truly clean and renewable energy future.
We urge you to reverse your support of fracked natural gas as a “clean energy alternative” and to put an end to all hydraulic fracturing in the United States until it is proven safe. Specifically, we are deeply concerned about your endorsement of the NAT GAS Act, which subsidizes natural gas powered vehicles and the building of related infrastructure. Enactment of this bill will greatly increase America's dependence on hydraulic fracturing, and shackle us to a dangerous technology which is completely unnecessary.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, exposes tens of millions of people to toxic chemicals and significant amounts of radiation, and leads to irreparable health impacts and environmental damage. It is critical that you examine credible scientific evidence to evaluate the safety of this practice. We strongly recommend conferring with scientists such as Dr. Anthony Ingraffea (one of the top experts in fracturing technologies) and Dr. Robert Howarth, both of Cornell University, who recently released a study showing that the greenhouse gas footprint of fracked shale gas is dirtier than that of coal. In addition, Dr. Theo Colborn, President of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange and expert on the toxic effects of chemicals used in fracking, presents indisputable evidence about the toxicity associated with this practice. And before committing our country to years of dependence on fracked shale gas, we also urge you to consult with Dr. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University and Dr. Mark Delucchi of UC Davis, co-authors of a 2009 Scientific American article which outlines a path to a truly renewable energy future for our nation by the year 2030.
It does not make sense to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to transition to a temporary stop-gap energy infrastructure, with its associated dependence on an untenable extraction practice with toxic side effects, when a permanent transition to truly sustainable energy solutions could be implemented instead. We ask you to withdraw your support for the NAT GAS Act and veto it if it should come to your desk, while also working to halt unconventional gas drilling by means of slick water hydraulic fracturing until it is proven safe. America needs a truly renewable energy future, and any deviation from that path will surely take this country in the wrong direction.
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