Environmental Group Calls for Fracking Ban in New Report

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 30: A protestor holds a sign during a demonstration against fracking in California outside of the Hiram W. Johnson State Office Building on May 30, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Dozens of protesters with the group Californians Against Fracking staged a protest outside of California Gov. Jerry Brown's San Francisco offices demanding that Gov. Brown ban fracking in the state.
National Journal
Clare Foran
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Clare Foran
Oct. 3, 2013, 8:58 a.m.

En­vir­on­ment Amer­ica, a group of state-based en­vir­on­ment­al ad­vocacy or­gan­iz­a­tions, re­leased a re­port Thursday called “Frack­ing by the Num­bers,” which quan­ti­fies dam­age done by frack­ing across the United States.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, frack­ing op­er­a­tions in the U.S. gen­er­ated 280 bil­lion gal­lons of tox­ic waste wa­ter in 2012. The re­port also found that, since 2005, frack­ing has used 250 bil­lion gal­lons of fresh wa­ter, de­graded 360,000 acres, and re­leased 100 mil­lion met­ric tons of glob­al warm­ing pol­lut­ants in­to the at­mo­sphere.

In Au­gust, the In­teri­or De­part­ment’s Bur­eau of Land Man­age­ment ended the pub­lic com­ment peri­od on a pro­posed rule to reg­u­late frack­ing on fed­er­al and In­di­an lands. BLM has not yet said when it ex­pects to fi­nal­ize the rule.

Dur­ing a phone call with re­port­ers, however, John Rumpler, a seni­or at­tor­ney for En­vir­on­ment Amer­ica, said that the reg­u­la­tions are not enough. In­stead, he said, the ad­min­is­tra­tion should ban hy­draul­ic frac­tur­ing al­to­geth­er.

“The num­bers on frack­ing add up to an en­vir­on­ment­al night­mare. Con­struct­ing a reg­u­lat­ory re­gime suf­fi­cient to pro­tect our wa­ter and our health … seems im­plaus­ible at best,” Rumpler said, adding: “At the end of the day, pro­tect­ing our en­vir­on­ment and pub­lic health will re­quire a ban on frack­ing.”

Katie Brown, a spokes­per­son for En­ergy in Depth, a pro-oil and gas-drilling group, called the find­ings base­less. “En­vir­on­ment Amer­ica’s latest re­port simply re­pack­ages tired and thor­oughly de­bunked claims. The ac­tu­al num­bers show that nat­ur­al gas and hy­draul­ic frac­tur­ing are slash­ing air pol­lu­tion, rap­idly re­du­cing green­house gases, and cre­at­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of jobs,” she said in a state­ment. 

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