Markey, 11 Senators to OMB: Fracking Rule Should be Strongest Possible Standard

WASHINGTON (September 30, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and 11 of his Senate colleagues today asked the director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to issue the strongest possible rule governing the environmental, safety, and public health standards for fracking activities on public lands. It was recently reported that the Department of Interior has transmitted its rule to OMB for final review before the regulations are completed.


According to the Interior Department, more than 90 percent of all new oil and gas wells drilled on public lands employ hydraulic fracturing. As this drilling process has been used more frequently, concerns and evidence about water, air, and climate pollution have increased. This rule governing the practice on public lands will be the first time in more than 30 years that the Interior Department has updated its fracking regulations.


“As OMB finalizes this rule we urge you to issue the strongest possible safeguards to ensure that public health, safety and our environment are protected,” writes Markey and his colleagues. “As stewards of these lands and resources for the American people it is therefore critical that the final rule for hydraulic fracturing on public lands offers stringent protections for the safety of workers, our water, air, lands and public health.”


The full letter to OMB Director Shaun Donovan is available HERE.


In the letter, the Senators highlight three areas that they believe must be included in the final rule:


--Robust requirements for public disclosure of  all chemicals and other additives, including prior to the commencement and after completion of fracking operations to ensure transparency and the protection of public health; 


--A fully transparent, permanent, and searchable database to house chemical disclosures that can be accessed for free by the public;  


--Strong and consistent requirements for well construction and integrity and wastewater management for every well drilled on public lands that ensure water quality is not impacted by drilling operations and that worker safety is protected. 


Along with Senator Markey, the letter is signed by Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).