EARTHWORKS

Reid's spill bill: nevermind the damage to clean water/public health, full speed ahead on gas drilling!

By Cathy Carlson

July 27, 2010

Senator Harry Reid unfolded a narrow energy proposal today in the U.S. Senate. It includes modest reforms in the Nation s offshore drilling program, but creates new incentives for drilling on land -- without addressing any of the needed reforms to the onshore or land-based program.

Drilling for natural gas is spreading out across the country, and the new areas of gas development are seeing new health impacts, polluted air and polluted water. Despite these impacts, Congress acted several years ago to exempt natural gas drilling practices from provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act, which protect our water supplies from pollution.

One of the many lessons learned during the Gulf oil disaster is that we cannot trust the industry to protect our environment during drilling.

We also know that we have as many problems with the drilling program onshore as we do offshore. For example, the state of Colorado documented over 1,000 spills reported to the state over a two and a half year period.

Congress cannot turn a blind eye to the damage we are creating with natural gas production.

A balanced approach to our energy policy is needed, which recognizes that the impacts of natural gas production must be considered before more taxpayer subsidies are provided to the industry.

We call on Congress to modernize our energy policy and eliminate the exemptions that allow the natural gas industry to circumvent federal environmental laws.

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Tagged with: spill bill, reform, harry reid, clear act

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