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The Safe Energy Future Plan: Ending Special Treatment for the Oil and Gas Industry

Aaron Mintzes's avatar
By Aaron Mintzes

April 10, 2017

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This week, Rep. Cartwright (D-PA), DeGette (D-CO), Polis (D-CO), and Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Safe Energy Future Plan, a suite of bills providing critical protections to communities by closing oil and gas industry loopholes in our bedrock environmental laws.

Formerly known as the “Frack Pack”, our bill sponsors simply aim to treat the oil and gas industry like anybody else.

So Much to Oppose

Ending the special treatment for fossil fuel companies comes in stark contrast to the policy direction emanating from the Trump White House. With a stroke of a pen, President Trump greenlighted the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines, rolled back the Clean Power Plan, Bureau of Land Management hydraulic fracturing rule, Clean Water Rule, and Council on Environmental Quality Climate Guidance, just to name a few.

And those were just the Executive Orders. The very first bill President Trump signed repealed an anti-corruption rule that would have required oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose their payments to foreign governments. The Congressional majority have additional plans to drill and mine more of our lands, limit community input, and slash enforcement budgets.

What Do You Stand For?

So, it’s easy to be against things. The Safe Energy Future Plan also provides an easy set of solutions we can all support.

• Mr. Cartwright’s bills, the CLEANER (Closing Loopholes and Ending Needless Evasion of Regulations) and FRESHER (Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation) Acts treat oil and gas wastes just as other hazardous wastes and recognize that, just like anything else, rainfall washes it off in to our drinking water supplies

• Ms. DeGette’s FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals) closes the “Halliburton” loophole, treating the oil and gas industry just as other industries that perform underground injections

• Mr. Polis’ BREATHE Act (Brining Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effects) aggregates the air pollution from nearby, commonly owned, individual wells as if they were a single source, just like with all other air polluting industries

• Ms. Schakowsky’s SHARED Act (Safe Hydration is an American Right in Energy Development) says the oil and gas industry should test the water before drilling, so we know when they’re responsible for contaminating it

Picking Winners and Losers

The Congressional majority often decries policies that “pick winners and losers” in the marketplace. If we really want the free market to decide who prevails, we should begin by removing the special treatment given only to the oil and gas industry. Playing by the same rules and providing basic protections for clean water, air, and public health will help our economy and encourage safer forms of renewable energy development.


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Tagged with: schakowsky, safe energy future plan, polis, frack pack, degette, cartwright

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