The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jessica Ennis
Phone: 202-667-4500, ext. 202

Congress Takes on Secret Chemicals Used in Controversial Gas Drilling Technique

46 members sign onto letter supporting right-to-know proposal aimed at protecting drinking water from drilling chemicals


Members of Congress signaled their support for disclosure of secret
chemicals used in gas drilling on public lands, signing onto a letter
sent today to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Led by Congressman
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) and
Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), 46 members of Congress signed the
letter. The move was prompted by health concerns posed by the
controversial gas drilling technique - known as "hydraulic fracturing -
in which drillers blast millions of gallons of chemically treated water
into the earth to force gas from underground deposits.

The following is a statement from Earthjustice Legislative Associate Jessica Ennis:

"Thanks to an exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act, pushed through
during the Bush and Cheney administration, we have virtually no idea
what chemicals drillers are pumping underground during the hydraulic
fracturing process. But when it comes to chemicals in our drinking
water, the American people deserve to know more, not less.

"The Department of Interior proposal to require oil and gas companies to
disclose the chemicals they use when fracking on public lands is a
crucial step in pulling back this veil of secrecy. The support for the
public's right-to-know, championed by Congressman Hinchey, Congresswoman
DeGette, Congressman Polis and echoed by their colleagues is invaluable
-- as is their tireless work to restore drinking water protections for
communities all over the country that have been placed in harms' way by
rushed and irresponsible gas development."

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.