Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delivered their final Guidance to their regional offices for regulating hydraulic fracturing with diesel fuel. Our story dates back to 2005 when then Vice President Dick Cheney gathered his former employer Halliburton and a number of other energy companies behind closed doors to hammer out what would become the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Washington, D.C. — Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released long-awaited guidance (see below for links) describing how the oil and gas industry may use diesel fuel in the fluids used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking). When it takes effect sometime this year, this will be EPA’s first formal rule or guidance dealing with fracking’s threat to drinking water.
“Diesel and drinking water don't mix,” said Earthworks executive director Jennifer Krill. She continued, “Even the Cheney-era Congress recognized diesel’s hazard to drinking water. That’s why, even as they passed the Halliburton loophole to the Safe Drinking Water Act, Congress left the door open for this first-ever EPA oversight of fracking’s threat to drinking water.”
In 2005, the newly re-elected Bush/Cheney Administration settled in to a second term eager to drastically reshape our nation’s energy policy. Vice President Cheney held a series of closed-door meetings with energy companies, forging a direction so favorable to drillers that the exemptions from our bedrock environmental laws crafted therein became known as the Halliburton loopholes. One of those exemptions (there are a total of seven) declared that the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) would not apply to hydraulic fracturing. Originally passed by Congress in 1974, the SDWA is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water, especially underground sources of drinking water.
Summary: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed permitting guidance for hydraulic fracturing operations using diesel. The guidance is the first federal policy focused on protecting drinking water sources from hydraulic fracturing.