Just recently, the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act (NAT GAS Act) was introduced in Congress to provide incentives for natural gas production. And, once again, the NAT GAS Act aims to increase our use of natural gas without addressing the impacts of natural gas on communities and water supplies across the country. This legislation also increases our reliance on another fossil fuel by creating new infrastructure for natural gas, keeping us dependent for years to come.
While natural gas may be cleaner burning than other fossil fuels, like coal, it comes with a host of environmental and public health problems. Polluted water and air threaten people that live in gasland communities. The natural gas industry is exempt from many of our bedrock environmental laws, ranging from the law that governs the fate and transport of our hazardous wastes to the law that governs our drinking water sources.
President Obama recently spoke about the destructive impacts of natural gas drilling by pointing out the real threats to air and water that can go along with an industry coming into a community. Congress and the administration need to restore the balance between promoting an energy source and protecting citizens, our water and the environment.
Passing laws to close loopholes (such as the BREATHE Act and the FRAC Act) is a first step. After these many loopholes are closed, a stringent regulatory regime that protects air, water, wildlife and landowners from effects of gas drilling must be implemented on a federal level.