January 21, 2018

Hinchey, Holt Urge DRBC to Suspend Hydrofracking Rulemaking Process

Maurice Hinchey Press Release

Lawmakers Cite Previously Undisclosed Diesel Fuel Risks Detailed in New House Energy and Commerce Committee Report

Washington, DC – Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Congressman Rush Holt (NJ-12) today urged the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to suspend its current natural gas development rulemaking process following the release of new information from House investigators about the use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing fluid. New regulations issued in December by the
DRBC fail to account for the potential risks posed by diesel fuel in fracking fluid.

“We already know there are significant risks when millions of gallons of water mixed with a small percentage of toxic fracking fluid are injected into the ground in the hydraulic fracking process,” said Hinchey. “New evidence now suggests that in some cases, frack wells are substantially more dangerous because they are using diesel fuel, which contains chemicals known to cause cancer, brain damage, kidney damage and more. The DRBC’s rules don’t even consider the potential impacts of diesel fuel, even though over 30 million gallons of it have been pumped into the ground in 19 states. The DRBC should suspend the current rulemaking process, consider this new information and then offer a new public comment period on the new rules. It’s the responsible thing to do.”

“Because the drilling companies have not been forthcoming about the chemicals they used, prudence requires more thorough review of the fracking process. Fracking simply should not be allow to proceed until we have the data and good science needed to protect the health and environment for the 7.7 million people who make their home in the Delaware River watershed, and the almost 10 percent of the nation’s population who rely on these waters for drinking, recreational and industrial use,” Holt said.

In December, Hinchey and Holt joined local officials and public citizens in calling for the DRBC to conduct and complete a Cumulative Environmental Impact Study prior to the issuance of a regulatory framework that would allow hydraulic fracturing for natural gas to move forward in the basin. In spite of these calls the Commission moved forward with draft regulations without conducting such an analysis. The public comment period is ongoing.

This week, U.S. Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Diana DeGette (D-CO) sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson regarding the results of an investigation into the use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing fluids. They found that drilling companies used over 30 million gallons of diesel fuel in 19 states, despite a pledge by the industry in 2003 to discontinue the use of diesel fuel. The use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing operations is regulated by the EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Any service company that performs hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuel must receive prior authorization from the EPA.

Read Letter Here