Energy. Environment. Economy.

Burning Question: What Would Life Be Like Without the Halliburton Loophole?

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at the American Enterprise Institute, 2009.

Our most popular Burning Question, as voted on by  StateImpact readers, is one that came from Howard Weissman. Weissman wants to know what the impact would be if federal regulations that apply to other industries were applied to the natural gas industry. Here’s Howard’s query:

Even though I don’t live in Pennsylvania (I’m in Delaware) I have a question regarding the Marcellus Shale drilling. At one time I heard that while V.P. Dick Cheney pushed through some legislation that exempts the companies doing the Marcellus shale drilling from having to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act. So my first question is: Is this true? If it is true, … then, if I were a news reporter I would definitely make a huge front page story out of that!! If the companies were required to meet the Clean Water Act standards, would that pretty much solve the water pollution problems that the drilling is causing? Thank you.

In fact, a lot of attention and press coverage over the so-called “Halliburton Loophole” exists.

It is true that some federal environmental statutes do not apply to gas drilling. Some of those exemptions date back long before Dick Cheney became Vice President in 2000. But the loophole refers to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which exempts the hydraulic fracturing process, also known as fracking, from federal oversight under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. Then Vice President Dick Cheney did have a hand in getting the exemption put into the Energy Policy Act. He chaired President Bush’s Energy Policy Task Force, which recommended fracking be excluded. And Cheney is a former Halliburton executive. Halliburton, by the way, began fracking in the 1940′s to extract for oil. But the use of fracking, combined with horizontal drilling, has only recently been used to mine shale gas.

The loophole does have an exception.  If drilling companies use diesel fuel to frack a well, they do have to get a federal permit.

Also amended in the 2005 Energy Policy Act was the Clean Water Act. Congress enacted the CWA back in 1972 as a way to regulate discharges into the country’s rivers and streams. The CWA was amended in 1987 to include storm water run-off. But oil and gas production are exempted from those regulations. And in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, those exemptions included oil and gas construction. Environmentalists worry about run-off from well pads, pipelines and construction sites.

Without federal oversight, it’s up to the states to regulate gas drilling. In fact, some call the “Halliburton Loophole” a misnomer because states have their own rules in place. Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer recently testified in Congress that federal oversight is unnecessary because the states are better equipped to implement and enforce their own rules.

Krancer pointed out in his testimony that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 had bipartisan support. And he’s right. Even the Chairman of Philadelphia’s Democratic Party, Congressman Bob Brady, voted for it, along with then-Senator Barack Obama. But the EPA has since revisited its original position to stay out of fracking oversight and is conducting a study of the practice. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said federal standards are needed. And Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey has introduced the FRAC Act, which would eliminate the gas drilling exemptions from the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

In his recent testimony to Congress, Secretary Krancer argued that current rules do a good job overseeing oil and gas production, which makes the Frac Act irrelevant.

“The Energy Policy Act of 2005 has no impact whatsoever on the state and federal laws that prohibit oil and gas extraction operations from causing surface water or ground water pollution. The whole of oil and gas operations are subject to the federal Water Pollution Control Act and is prohibited from causing pollution to the waters of the United States. In Pennsylvania, all aspects of oil and gas exploration and extraction, including drilling and fracing operations, are regulated by the state’s Oil and Gas Act, the Clean Streams Law and our water protection regulations. The fact is that the so-called and misnamed “Halliburton Loophole” in no way diminishes the statutory and regulatory coverage of our laws as applied to gas extraction.”

The federal Water Pollution Control Act regulates municipal waste treatment facilities, not gas drilling per se. Earlier this year, Governor Corbett asked Pennsylvania’s drillers to stop using those facilities to treat drilling waste water. Harrisburg lawmakers are currently updating some aspects of the Oil and Gas Act through the Impact Fee bill.

And it’s not just the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act that exempt the oil and gas industry. The Clean Air Act, passed by Congress in 1970, exempts oil and gas wells from aggregation. That means, each well site is considered an individual source of pollutants, and does not take into account all of the well sites in a specific area.

When it comes to the handling of waste water, or frack water, that too is exempt from a federal statute called the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The RCRA tracks industrial wastes from “cradle to grave.” But when it comes to the oil and gas industry, as long as the waste water is on the drill site, or being transported, it is not considered hazardous. This also applies to drilling mud. That’s why trucks carrying waste water, which contains high levels of salts, toxic chemicals, as well as radioactive material, may be labeled “residual waste.”

The National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, requires federal agencies to do environmental impact statements if major industrial projects would impact the environment. But the Energy Policy Act of 2005 relegated oil and gas operations to a less stringent process.

Finally, the Toxic Release Inventory requires industries to report toxic chemicals to the EPA. But the oil and gas industry are exempt from this reporting.

So, would regulating the gas industry under these federal statutes solve the problems Howard refers to? It’s hard to say, because laws need enforcers. And whether the EPA can regulate more effectively than the states, and whether they even have the staff to track the rapidly growing gas industry, is up for debate.


  • Nick Grealy

    There is actually full disclosure of the chemical mandated in most states including PA.There is a site which has just started but has several thousands of wells on it. The first state to mandate full disclosure was Texas earlier this year. Here in Europe full disclosure is the law,
    No one is hiding anything. What would it serve?

    What is cheaper for a company? Full disclosure of the safe chemicals or several billions of dollars in a Macondo or Exxon Valdez lawsuit?

    BTW NPR. There will be plenty of regulators salaries paid from royalties!

    • Voodoo3

      “What would it serve?”

      Well, the industry has a vested interest in keeping the details of their chemical cocktails confidential (particularly those combinations that result in higher yields), in order to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals.  Very simple concept.

      “safe chemicals?”

      The drilling industry often makes the contention that potentially hazardous chemicals make up less than two percent of fracking fluid, with water and sand making up the other ninety-eight percent. However, it is important to consider this percentage in the context of the scale and density of ongoing hydraulic fracturing operations. In Dimmock, Pennsylvania, for example, there are more than sixty wells in a nine-square-mile area, which averages to over six wells per square mile. If each well uses about three million gallons of fluid, that is roughly eighteen million gallons of fluid pumped down into a single square mile. When considered in this manner, even one percent becomes statistically significant, as it results in 180,000 gallons of toxic material injected into a single square mile.

      Get a clue.

      • Carlos

        Please see the Dimmock article on this site. I have linked to an EPA email, in which the EPA states that the water in Dimmock is safe to drink. Also, the problem in Dimmock was never related to the chemicals used in the hydraulic facturing process, it was related to well casing and methane migration (which may or may not have been Cabot’s fault depending on which side you’re on).  

        Get a clue yourself…

        • Voodoo3

          Read a little closer, I never stated that the fracking fluid caused contamination in Dimmock, I simply used it as an example of how concentrated drilling results in massive amounts of toxic fluid being funneled into small areas.

          If you want to see an example a serious contamination event, you can check how the EPA recently (in November) found fracking compounds in environmental monitoring wells in a Wyoming aquifer. (again concentrated drilling was going on in the area).

          Get a clue.

          • Carlos

            I read it, I just think it’s sad that people like yourself take any chance they can to make a reference to Dimmock, so I thought I’d share the good news once again that their water is fine. Also, I believe the article you refer to states that the EPA is currently reviewing the data to see if the nearby gas wells were the cause of the contamination, so let’s not jump to conclusions (but I assume you will).

            Also, back to the original comment, that amount of fluid doesn’t stay in the ground, and if it did that would be wonderful since it is separated from fresh water aquifer by thousands of feet of impermeable rock. You do realize there are things called injection wells, in which this is their entire purpose? 

            Get a clue yourself.

          • Voodoo3

            Dimmock is simply a prototypical example of an area experiencing density drilling.  Whether or not their water is contaminated is another matter entirely, and off topic.  The point here is that there are plenty of locations throughout the Marcellus Shale region with this density of drilling, Dimmoch being the most notable one.  When you get that volume of fluid in that small of an area, there is the potential for serious problems.

            The Wyoming article states that the “the chemical compounds the EPA detected are consistent with those
            produced from drilling processes, including one — a solvent called
            2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE) — widely used in the process of hydraulic
            fracturing. The agency said it had not found contaminants such as
            nitrates and fertilizers that would have signaled that agricultural
            activities were to blame.  The wells also contained benzene at 50 times the level that is
            considered safe for people, as well as phenols — another dangerous
            human carcinogen — acetone, toluene, naphthalene and traces of diesel
            fuel. The EPA said the water samples were saturated with methane gas that
            matched the deep layers of natural gas being drilled for energy. The gas
            did not match the shallower methane that the gas industry says is
            naturally occurring in water, a signal that the contamination was
            related to drilling and was less likely to have come from drilling waste
            spilled above ground.”  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to what happened there…

            And to your other point, first of all, if you knew anything about Pennsylvania geology you would know that the reason there are no injection wells in this state is because the integrity of Pennsylvania’s subsurface geology is not conducive for long term storage containment structures.  While such wells do exist in other states (such as Texas and Oklahoma, they do not, and will not, be found in Pennsylvania).

            Furthermore, you are right that those 180,000 gallons will almost certainly not stay in the ground. 20-40% likely will come up through the wells as flowback (a fluid that now contains heavy metals, salts, and radio active material and therefore is even MORE toxic coming back up than it was when it first went down).  This fluid is particularly dangerous because if the well cementing is cracked near where the aquifer zone is located…that creates a contamination pathway for those fluids to leach into water sources (as you yourself suggested might be the case in Dimmock). 

            Additionally, there are studies that suggest that not only are well casing failures potential pathways for contamination, but that naturally occurring joint and fault/fracture planes create vertical contamination pathways as well.  Detailed studies can be found in New York’s SGEIS, and by such experts as hygro-geologist Paul Rubin among others.

            Keep trying, this is fun.

          • Carlos

            Isnt Paul Rubin Pee Wee Herman?

          • Voodoo3

            Naturally, this is what you have been reduced to.

          • Carlos

            Actually I thought that was pretty funny. But since you are apparently humorless, and full of yourself as your side usually is, here’s a real rebuttal:

            You can continue to make the conclusion you want on the Wyoming incidentt, but as I have stated the article does say the study is on-going. And I will wait until we have all the evidence before pointing fingers.

            Also, you can continue to say that you just happen to state Dimmock because it has a high concentration of drilling, but we both know environmentalists will continue to make that their Alamo. 

            Furthermore, I am a geologist in the state of Pennsylvania and am well aware of injection wells in this state, which do exists, and the subsurface geology. There are only a handful, and they don’t exist in a large amount because of the limited  storage capacity and tightness of units in the subsurface. However, many companies are exploring the possibilities of installing more of them throughout the state. 

            Also, to think that the hydraulic fracturing process can open fractures that connect 6,000 feet through rock to freshwater aquifers in Pennsylvania is ludicrous. However, if you are talking about fractures in the shallow subsurface where gas or fluids may migrate, that could happen IF well integrity is not maintained. However, many companies triple case their wells, and DEP casing regulations have become more stringent in the past year, and if followed properly, there should not be any issues. 

            You can continue to call the fluid “toxic” if you like, but I’d like to know where you got that label from since the EPA does not list it as such.

          • Voodoo3

            You think this issue is funny?

            Feel free to keep sticking your head in the sand about Wyoming. 

            Your statement that “hydraulic fracturing process can open fractures that connect 6,000 feet
            through rock to freshwater aquifers in Pennsylvania is ludicrous” is simply intellectually dishonest.  I never suggested that the artificial fractures alone were connective, but rather asserted that naturally occurring joint and fault/fracture planes have the capability of creating connective pathways.  There have been NO studies that definitively track the subsurface migration of fracking fluids or methane in the short term or long term.  When the stakes are as high as the drinking water for 15 million people, it is incumbent upon Industry to demonstrate that their process is safe, abiding by the “precautionary principle” seems to be the most prudent way to move forward.

            Also, if you know about how there are virtually zero subsurface storage facilities in PA, then why did you make that inane comment to begin with?

            I suppose you also know the approximate life-span of  the cement currently being used in these wells.  It happens to be about 50-80 years… what do you think occurs at that time when the cement fails on plugged and abandoned wells?  This is an inevitable reality.

            Additionally, being a geologist you must be familiar with how seismically active this region is, and furthermore how this seismic activity will accelerate the failure rate of well casings.

            Also, you seem to have a lot of faith in the diligence of the energy extraction industry.  And in the wake of Deepwater, more blind faith than most people.  How many inspectors do you think PADEP employs vs. the number of wells they are currently tasked with inspecting…

            Lastly, the 2% of the fracking fluid containing the chemical cocktail is in fracking fluids is toxic.  There really is no way to argue against this.  Biochemists have identified chemicals in fracking fluids that are in widespread use that pose significant hazards to humans or other organisms, because they remain dangerous even at concentrations near or below their chemical detection limits. These include the biocides glutaraldehyde, 2,2-dibromo 3-nitrilopropionamide (DBNPA) and 2,2-dibromoacetonitrile (DBAN), the corrosion inhibitor propargyl alcohol, the surfactant 2-butoxyethanol (2-BE), and lubricants containing heavy naphtha. 

            And that is just what goes down the pipe, what comes back up is significantly more toxic, so toxic in fact that public waste-water plants are incapable of dealing with this fluid. (the reason it is not classified as “toxic” by the EPA is because this fluid is conveniently excluded form the “cradle to grave” regulatory requirements of RCRA).

          • James

            Looks like Carlos made a mistake in getting into an argument with someone who uses pseudoscience and panders to peoples fear. The sky is falling, Run!

          • Voodoo3

            Feel free to specifically identify any “pseudoscience”

          • CG

            WTF are you talking about, James? Voodoo is talking science, facts, and common sense while Carlos is making jokes about Pee Wee Herman (and you belittling the issue with a comment about the sky falling). I’m not a geology expert, and based on what I’ve read here, I think you and Carlos are doing a pretty awful job of supporting your claims.

          • Iris

            Hey folks, three points. One, if we’re going to talk about the chemicals in the water, be aware that they are still disguised even when they are “reported” because their concentrations are not reported and companies often use trade names which make it difficult or impossible for emergency responders and health care workers to decipher the actual chemicals used at a particular operation. Community Right to Know laws thus continue to be flaunted in fact. 

            Two, it would be a great deal better if the EPA could regulate gas drilling for many reasons; primarily, it is more sophisticated and powerful, as the EPA study in Pavilion indicates. No state entity has the resources to drill study wells and flush them three times to rule out the possibility that fracking contaminants were “pre-existing” as Encana has falsely claimed. An expert geologist cited by Abrahm Lustgarten said years ago there is less than a one in a million chance that those fracking chemicals in Pavilion were pre-existing; now it’s clear to the non-expert public that there is no other explanation for the terrible contamination of Pavilion’s water and for the suffering there.

            Three, regarding Dimock’s water, the contaminants in that water are not looking good. Not “safe” at all. The DEP and EPA simply have not established maximum conatminant levels for some of the chemicals in Dimock water, including naphthalene, phenanthrene, butyl benzyl phthalate, 1-methylnapthalene, 2-methylnapthalene, ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, triethylene glycol, 2-methoxyethanol, methylene blue active substances, gas range organics, acetone…

          • Timray
          • Timray

            catch up….Now, instead of trucking wastewater to a remote location, mobile systems can treat the water onsite and condition it to meet almost any specification the driller wants—resulting in a reduction of expensive truck traffic. The portable systems can treat 20,000-30,000 barrels of water per day. For bigger frack jobs, additional units can be added—making the system totally flexible.

          • Timray

            When the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its multimillion-dollar investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field last month, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike.

    • Scott Detrow

      Thanks, Nick. You’re right – disclosure is mandatory in PA, via regulation. But I wouldn’t call it “full,” since the info is provided to the state DEP, but never made public. Both impact fees would require the agency to post well-by-well info online, and companies within the Marcellus Shale Coalition will voluntarily post info to the fracfocus website you mention, beginning in January. Here’s the story StateImpact did on this issue:

      • Sveltewunderful

        Yes, let’s remove all regulations. I trust that for-profit corporations can regulate themselves and will, of course, report any pollutants harmful to man and beast and following such revelation will contain and clean any and all damage at their expense, just as I believe playing the lottery is a sound financial investment. Good night evil Right!

    • Timray
  • tenbenny

    Just like the states are better off regulating which drugs are legal right? Oh wait you need the federal government for that because it’s a more important issue than our drinking water.

    • Anonymous

      No doubt…and like the states choosing which drugs are legal with no Federal law following the same rule, you can essentially be caught in a heck of a pickle when one is caught with drugs that are legal in your state but not federally.

      What I am most confused by is that people don’t understand that water is in no way owned by a state.  The water flows through this earth both above and below groud, and what we do here, affects other waterways.  The Rouge River is an excellent example of this…What do people think the fish in the great lakes don’t swim into the Rouge? 

  • JohnMatthew

    This is a pretty weak argument. You stopped at “well, could they *enforce* them?” Wouldn’t a merely adequate exploration have assumed that yes, indeed, laws are enforced. If we stop at “can or will they enforce the law?” that pretty much proscribes the application of any law, no? Isn’t the point of this particular question assuming the crazy idea that laws are enforced?

    • Lady_mareth_2000

      I don’t think the point was that it shouldn’t be made illegal through the closing of the federal loopholes- just that doing so would likely not have any real effects because the EPA lacks the resources to enforce the laws. 
      As an example, there are four oil refineries in my city that the EPA has found to be breaking federal pollution restrictions; however, they claim not to have the resources to do anything about it yet (they’ve had this information for at least two years). More laws are fairly useless if the enforcing federal agency doesn’t have the funds & manpower to enforce them. 

    • Mungus

      That’s part of the problem, too often it is assumed that because laws are in place, they are enforced. That assumption is absolutely not true in reality. Laws are enforced selectively and with prejudice to an agenda in common practice.

  • Xandl

    Ewwwwww yuck hate is an understatement! Halliburton is systematically destroying the essence of life as we know it, because a corrupt then vice president ensured his continued heinous environmental crimes to fatten his pocket book! Satan lives in the feeble heart of this troll!

    • D man (as in first name)

      To bad the US taxpayers keep paying for his medical benefits to fix the black heart
      A true greedy bastard at too many levels

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if, there this Federal law does not matter because each state has their own regulations…Then why did anyone feel the need to pass it?  I wouldn’t think that minimizing toxic levels of drinking water would be a political winner.

    I also wonder how it is that things like this never seem to be put on the ballot.  If it affects every human being in this country, it should be put to a vote.

  • SciGuy

    Voodoo3, I appreciate your perseverance in the face of (a surprising source of) ignorance.  I have a MS in geology and have many friends in the O&G industry, some of whom seem to have blinders on, also.  To say that We trust the O&G industry to do the right thing and disclose all chemicals and activities without having a gun to their head is just another sign of lambs being led to the slaughter.  Whether State or Federal enforcement happens doesn’t matter as much as the fact that enforcement NEEDS to happen, PERIOD.(and it is NOT, currently)  We need Regulators we can trust to do their jobs and not be in the pocket of the O&G companies, as happened with the Dept of the Interior not too long ago.  

    As for whether States or the Fed enforces the laws, that’s a tough one.  As an example of a federal institution, the EPA may have the power to act but doesn’t have the money or manpower.  The States may indeed be in a better position to enforce laws and restrictions, however the O&G industry, thru the efforts of their lobbyists, seem to hold more sway over State institutions than their Federal counterparts.

  • Guest

    “… each well site is con­sid­ered an indi­vid­ual source of pol­lu­tants, and does not take into account all of the well sites in a spe­cific area.”

    What this means is that each new well needs to be separately permitted, rather than drillers being allowed to just put a new well on-line without any review each time an old well runs dry or is capped.

    • Madrona

      It means the air emissions of each site will be evaluated individually, instead of the total emissions of all the wells in an area taken together. So too bad for you if your valley is toxic, because each well individually isn’t emitting toxic levels of gases.

  • Alloypony

    Thank a republican for unleashing this cancer on the people and the government !

  • John

    And our 50 states were/are also responsible for regulating insurance companies such as AIG in 2008/present.  That said, federal supervision of oil/gas companies has its own set of weakness as witnessed by last year’s BP oil spill.  

    One thing for sure, accountability is necessary, and we need to remove the oil/gas exemptions from various environmental laws and impose strict financial bonding to make sure there are sufficient funds cover the cost of clean up once our water supplies turn into environmental superfund projects.  This will do two things: (1) tell everyone there is no such thing as a “free lunch” re our environment; and, (2) increase the cost of such projects to reflect some of the unknown negative externalities.  

  • Edvluft

    So much for “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”… well if you can manage it from a for profit Private Equity Hospital bed or nursing home.  This is crap!  Bend over cause this Democracy is over… way over… long gone over…

  • Choad

    Why does that photo of Cheney look like he’s taking it up the pooper?

  • Beth

    Cheney is the devil incarnate… pure evil.

  • Phxguy1940

    when your child gets cancer or some other horrific disease caused by dirty water, remember to thank cheney and his fellow republicans. this is the result of his secret meeting with energy execs for which no minutes were ever produced. criminal collusion? i think so. where are our legislators when we need them….oh, yeah, i forgot…theyre out getting “campaign money” (read bribes) from the energy companies. god bless america! .

    • Lynch

      did you not catch that Obama also was a part of these decisions? This is an example of equal stupidity, not just the republican variety.

    • Timray

      well what about the millions of children killed in Syria by Obama’s bombing them…Obama lied and babies died

  • Mjr_hoop

    Water is more precious than oil or gas. Once the precious water resource is polluted underground it is nearly impossible to “clean up” and underground is where most of the water (that belongs to the citizens) is stored naturally. Stop the disaster before it gets worse and take back the resources that belong to the citizens…and that means the oil and gas too. These are public utilities (energy and water) that the corporatacracy has stolen from the citizens. It is time to force them to stop and remove the resources from their control so the citizens, to whom they belong, can have these utilities at cost, without middlemen leeches jacking up the prices citizens pay. A (not for profit corporation) Public Utility system, encompassing every area of basic human need, owned and operated by, of and for the people (not the Gov’t so it can compete in a fair/free market) can provide a permanant stimulus and jobs package; public health care, public insurances (all forms), public education, public energy grids, public communications, public transportation and distribution and public parks, fisheries and lands with their resources. Take back what has been stolen from the people! Occupy USA & the Earth!!!

  • andy

    Consider this… if a child or family member gets cancer, and the insurance holder in the family happens to lose a job, the cancer will be a pre-existing condition.  There is a push going to exclude pre-existing conditions from insurance coverage…  Who is the spokesperson for that push, and where is he from…

    • Madrona

      Under the Affordable Care Act, companies are not allowed to hold pre-existing conditions against you. Check out this site:

  • Day2day

    Halliburton Loophole Debacle – The 2001 Public Land Concession to Private Interests or “Government Capture”
    During the Bush Administration, Vice President Cheney gave away BLM public lands to private corporations for natural gas exploitation and exempted them from environmental laws. This exemption, known as the Halliburton Loophole, was not publicized nor passed through the correct departments or agencies for approval. The corporations that have benefited from the Halliburton Loophole practice hydraulic fracturing, an extracting process using hundreds of toxic chemicals to create cracks deep underground which allows oil or natural gas to move freely, and ultimately flow to the earth’s surface. This is commonly known as “fracking” which on our public lands is destructive because it ravages natural habitat. The fracking process disrupts the ecological web and leaves toxic waste in its wake because “hydraulic fracturing typically introduces a mixture of potentially toxic chemicals into the ground” (Institute for Energy). This massive introduction of toxins into the Earth contaminates surrounding communities which then suffer from the poisoning of their land, air, and water. This is contrary to both the EPA and BLM’s mission and goals.
    Hydraulic fracturing is a “federally unregulated extraction process used in many natural gas drilling sites” (Hydraulic Fracturing: Unsafe, Unregulated) and as of May 11, 2012, had more than 17,000 disclosures from 135 reporting companies. Hydraulic fracturing contaminates the environment and concerns about its effects on drinking water supplies have surfaced (The Institute for Energy). Although fracking poses an incontestable potential for water poisoning that needs EPA regulation under the Safe Water Drinking Act, (SWDA) the EPA’s active environmental laws have not been allowed to adequately address the hazards of fracking nor the suffering of surrounding communities. David Hines at Wilkes University’s Energy and Environmental Institute states “due to … a federal law enacted in 2005, the EPA does not currently have the authority to regulate the underground injection of chemicals during the hydraulic fracturing process” (The Institute for Energy). Why was the EPA not authorized to regulate the underground injection of chemicals during the hydraulic fracturing process when this is their job when a simple search into “unregulated fracking on public lands results in environmental contamination” brought up more than 100 scholarly articles proving water contamination on Google Scholar alone. What happened to the laws and regulations that were already in place before 2005 that, until now, protected public health and safety as well as the environment concerning the toxicity of water. 
    This prohibition [hostile to fracking regulations] is a result of provisions within the 2005 Energy Task Force, which was enacted by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The prohibition has been called the “Halliburton Loophole” … because it is believed to have come from recommendations made in 2001 by a Special Energy Policy Task Force headed by then United States Vice President Richard B. Cheney, who had served as Chief Executive Officer of the Halliburton Corporation, a leading energy company in Texas that initially developed the modern hydraulic fracturing process (The Institute for Energy).

    The Energy Task Force was specially formed to purposely deliberate fracking without analyzing it in an environmental context.

  • Simon Lewis

    How about Chaney orchestrating judges to pass rules

  • nackota

    God has a special place reserved in hell for Dick Cheney and his systematic destruction of our country and his greed. Sickening.

  • Timray
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