Thanks again to Bruce Burns and Ellen Melnick up in Columbia County for working to allow me to speak at last Friday's screening of Josh Fox's "Gasland" documentary on the horrors of fracking at the Chatham Real Food Co-op (ChathamRealFoodCoop.net)--great stuff...
The house was packed to the rafters; at least fifty folks seemed to be in that room; I announced a rally to ban fracking for this Thursday (Feb. 16th) 4:30 pm in front of Chris Gibson's Kinderhook office in center of village there (at 2 Hudson St. 12106)-- and a ton of folks told me personally they'd come out; join us!...
Note-- don't just bring your anti-fracking signs-- bring signs for green jobs-- we're rallying for that too(!).
[also-- 'tis a fact that Gibson also has offices in Red Hook, Saratoga Springs, Glens Falls, and Delhi-- we should be holding events like these all over the 20th!]
Fact: Dr. Richard Perez of SUNY-Albany has conclusively proven that ALL of NYS's energy needs could be met completely by solar energy alone-- by covering 0.75% of NY's surface with photovoltaics.
My facts: http://dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2011/09/ten-reasons-to-ban-fracking-statewide.html .
Again-- sign WFP petition in support of Josh Fox (arrested recently after GOP actually refused to allow him to film committee hearing on groundwater contamination from fracking!); it's all here folks-- http://action.workingfamiliesparty.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5377 -- text here-- "Congressman Harris: The First Amendment applies, even in your committee room. Don't censor the truth about fracking. Please apologize to filmmaker Josh Fox and respect the freedom of the press. Yesterday morning, Republicans ordered Capitol Hill police to arrest Josh Fox, director of Gasland. His crime? Filming an open hearing on fracking. They violated a filmmaker's First Amendment rights. But why? What could they be discussing that they don't want the world to know about? This is unacceptable. Join us in telling Congressman Harris to apologize and to respect the First Amendment."
Recall what "Gasland" director Josh Fox posted to Facebook Jan. 26th in reaction to pro-frack Obama: "I feel like the GASLAND page is suffering in stunned silence after last nights State of the Union address. But let's not be silent. Movements like this one have been through moments like this one before. Let's get a dialogue going. With Romney and Gingrich in the drill baby drill column and Obama jumping on the fracking bandwagon last night, what can we constructively focus on in the year ahead?"
Natch-- one response I posted was for us all to support anti-fracking candidates; Josh Fox endorsed my campaign for Congress several months ago; see http://www.JoelforCongress.org ; I came out early last year for statewide ban on fracking-- and immediate national moratorium as well-- as Food and Water Watch, 350.org, Citizens Environmental Coalition, Greenpeace, 60+ groups across U.S. as well:
http://www.FrackAction.com ; http://www.ToxicsTargeting.com ; http://www.PetitionOnline.com/NoDrill ;
[recall-- back in summer of '08 I launched http://www.PetitionOnline.com/NoDrill ; thx to 1100+ of you signed on; see "Dutchess County Anti-Fracking Coalition" on Facebook I launched last spring: join us!]
So-- hope to see y'all there this Thursday for our rally to ban fracking-- at 4:30 pm in front of Chris Gibson's Kinderhook office in center of village there (at 2 Hudson St. 12106)-- numbers count; let's mobilize!...
[pass it on]
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/Joel [220+ signed on]
[check out this new one from http://www.FAIR.org Sunday-- "Natural Gas and the News: Fracking Messages 'Brought to You by Our Sponsors'" by Miranda Spencer: put up online two days ago Sun. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/12-3 ; http://www.FrackAction.com : more on all this]
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From http://www.EcoWatch.org ...
Published on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 by EcoWatch
Anti-Fracking Campaigners: We Won't Be Silenced
by Josh Fox
[EcoWatch editor's note: Thank you Josh for providing this statement for the Ohio anti-fracking rally at Gov. John Kasich's State of the State on Feb. 7 in Steubenville, Ohio]:
Gasland was intended to be both a chronicle of the way in which oil and gas companies have used vast sums of money to shield fracking from virtually all federal, state, and local regulations and a cautionary tale about the toll the process takes on people and the environment.
Fortunately, the message of the film is getting through. Recent surveys show that 4 out of 5 Americans are concerned about fracking's effect on our drinking water and seven out of ten Ohioans believe the process should be stopped until we know more about its effect on the environment and its relation to a series of earthquakes that have rocked the Northeastern part of the state.
The bottom line: fracking is not safe. It has never been proven safe and it will never be made safe. The industry admits that well casing problems occur in 50 percent of wells over the life of the well. That means that 50 percent of gas wells can be expected to leak chemicals, hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, carcinogens and neurotoxins directly into groundwater. The industry has never been able to solve this problem although they have been trying for decades and they have admitted that there is no solution to the problem. Safe fracking is simply an impossibility. If the state allows further drilling, it is trading water for gas. It is trading the short-term windfall profits of huge gas companies for our public health and the permanent poisoning of our ground water.
Unfortunately, Governor John Kasich and the Republican majority in the Ohio General Assembly, like so many members of Congress and officials in other states, have decided to listen to the siren song of the industry rather than the concerns of their constituents and the growing body of scientific research that is shining a brighter and brighter spotlight on the dangers of fracking. It's no accident that the governor is delivering his State of the State address in the hotbed of fracking in Ohio.
He'll undoubtedly praise the industry and the jobs it promises to create in an attempt to divert attention from the fact that those jobs come at a steep cost to the environment and public health.
He won't mention that as he is speaking in Steubenville on Tuesday or the five bills designed to address environmental and health concerns related to fracking that are languishing in the Ohio House and Senate in Columbus because the industry does not want them to be heard.
He won't mention that oil and gas producers now pay state taxes on the "honor system." As unbelievable as it may seem, the industry tells the state how much gas they've extracted and pays taxes based on that figure. There's no oversight or monitoring. In fact, the state lacks the authority to check meters at the wellhead and compare those readings against the figures turned in by producers. The producers pay what they want to pay-no questions asked.
That's an especially troubling thought when you consider that this industry is totally devoid of anything that even approaches honor-and that their tax liability could climb to as much as $40 million per year if they do all the fracking they want to do-and then accurately self-report the volume of gas they extract. Given their history, I think we can count on the former and forget about the latter.
The aversion to regulation and the truth about fracking in Ohio is nothing new. This is an industry built on secret deals, influence peddling and media manipulation. It is grounded on the exemptions from the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Superfund Act and, crucially to the Safe Drinking Water Act, from which fracking was exempted by Congress in 2005. It is fueled by the near universal desperation for jobs and economic development that exists in the regions where most fracking occurs.
Thankfully, however, the public is slowly but surely digging itself out from underneath the mounds of industry propaganda that has enabled them to punch tens of thousands of holes in the Earth without adequate oversight. The earthquakes that shook Northeast Ohio did more than scare residents, it raised very real questions about the process and its long term effects that people want answered, NOW.
I applaud the public officials and the environmental, public health, and community groups, and the thousands of concerned residents who are demanding answers from the industry and the elected officials who do their bidding. I urge you to continue the fight, to keep asking the hard questions-even if it means being arrested for seeking the truth as I was last week for merely attempting to record a public hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Send this message to the industry and the politicians they control: we won't be silenced. We can't be bought. We will fight to keep our families and our communities safe.
© 2012 EcoWatch.org
Josh Fox is the founder and producing artistic director of the International WOW Company. Josh has written/directed/produced two feature films, including the Emmy award-winning documentary feature Gasland, and over 25 full-length works for the stage, which have premiered in New York, Asia and Europe.
[recall below on all this originally sent out by yours truly on Jan. 26th to this list]
Josh Fox re: Obama State of the Union speech too-- reason to rally today in NYC-- fwd...
Here's why Josh Fox and many fractivist friends like me are so alarmed re: Obama SOTU speech:
Pertinent Obama SOTU speech excerpt on this-- "We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I'm requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk. The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don't have to choose between our environment and our economy. And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of thirty years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock - reminding us that Government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground."
[note-- download entire pre-published transcript of Obama speech @ http://www.CommonDreams.org ]
Fact: "Fracking has resulted in over 1,000 documented cases of groundwater contamination
across the county, either through the leaking of fracking fluids and methane into groundwater, or
by above ground spills of contaminated and often radioactive wastewater from fracking supplies operations."
[from http://www.propublica.org/article/buried-secrets-is-natural-gas-drilling-endangering-us-water- ]
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From http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658278308#!/events/147026645411034/ ...
[recall below info recently put together by Julia, Claire, Renee, John from http://www.FrackAction.com ]
***We are the majority against fracking in New York. The Wall Street Journal reported that fracking opponents outnumbered proponents by a margin of 4-1 at the Binghamton DEC hearing and we estimate that fracking opponents outnumber proponents by a much larger margin of 10-1 at the remaining hearings across the state. http://online.wsj.com/article/AP18a3f8a9737b4bf2a4874aba93f858dc.html
***Albany Reporter, Jon Campbell issued a Freedom of Information Law request to the DEC that included all SGEIS comments through Dec. 16. Letters from opponents outnumbered those by supporters by at least a 10-to-1 margin. http://statepolitics.lohudblogs.com/2012/01/09/dec-receives-18100-hydrofracking-comments-so-far/
***Congressman Maurice Hinchey has called on Governor Cuomo for the withdrawal of the SGEIS as of Monday, January 9th. "this document falls far short of what is needed to protect local communities from the risks posed by shale gas drilling and does not fully mitigate potential threats, including those to public health, drinking water, air quality, and municipal infrastructure." - Congressman Hinchey http://hinchey.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1808%3Ahinchey-urges-withdrawal-of-dsgeis-&catid=71%3A2011-press-releases
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[Times Dec. 2: "Learning Too Late of the Perils in Gas Well Leases" by Ian Urbina & Jo Craven McGinty
[note-- see much more on this-- http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/us/series/drilling_down/index.html ;
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Recall-- http://dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2011/09/ten-reasons-to-ban-fracking-statewide.html :
Monday, September 26, 2011
Ten reasons here to ban fracking statewide and put into place immediate national moratorium--
as called for by Food and Water Watch, Greenpeace, 350.org, Citizens Environmental Coalition, more:
[ http://www.FrackAction.com ; http://www.ToxicsTargeting.com ; http://www.PetitionOnline.com/NoDrill ;
Fact #1: "About 85 percent of Marcellus Shale in the Southern Tier - along with much of Sullivan - would be available for drilling under the proposed rules that are sure to elicit thousands of comments in a 60-day public comment period beginning in August. "A road map for the industrialization of the Catskills; the fact that the Delaware River isn't protected is outrageous," said Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. "It's clear they haven't developed a plan to deal with wastewater and there's no cumulative impact study. We'll fight like hell to stop this." (July 1st Times Herald-Record)
Fact #2: NJ state legislature voted recently to actually ban fracking all across the entire state.
[ http://www.truth-out.org/new-jersey-lawmakers-vote-ban-fracking/1309452696 ]
Fact #3: "A study by researchers at Duke University published May 10, 2011 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates unequivocally that fracking does, in fact, contaminate the water in the area where is used. The study examined groundwater obtained from 68 wells above the Marcellus and Utica shale formations throughout Pennsylvania and New York. The researchers found that the groundwater in the areas near active fracking wells contained, on average, methane concentrations 17 times higher than wells located where fracking was not taking place. Moreover, some of these wells had methane concentrations well above the 'immedate action' hazard level as defined by the U.S. Department of the Interior."
[from "Duke University Study Connects Water Contamination to Fracking Natural Gas Wells" (5/10/11)
Fact #4: Fracking destroys property values and local economies beyond repair-- as proved by Walter Hang of http://www.ToxicsTargeting.com last month-- and gas/oil leases are generally not accepted by lenders such as Wells, First Place Bank, Provident Funding, GMAC, FNCB, Fidelity, FHA, First Liberty or Bank of America-- it's "difficult, if not impossible, to the meet the 'acceptable if commonly granted' rule."
[see: http://thecapitolpressroom.org/does-natural-gas-leasing-hurt-property-values/ ]
Fact #5: Apr. 7th letter from Walter Hang of http://www.ToxicsTargeting.com to DEC and EPA asked them both "to investigate potential environmental and public health impacts associated with approximately 20 million gallons of natural gas drilling wastewater accepted by the Auburn, Canandaigua and Cayuga Heights Publicly Owned Treatment Works-- Natural Gas Drilling Wastewater Discharged to Publicly Owned Treatment Works in New York's Finger Lakes Region":
Fact #5: "The New York-based Toxics Targeting went through the Department of Environmental Conservation's own database of hazardous substances spills over the past thirty years. They found 270 cases documenting fires, explosions, wastewater spills, well contamination and ecological damage related to gas drilling. Many of the cases remain unresolved. The findings are contrary to repeated government assurances that existing natural gas well regulations are sufficient to safeguard the environment and public health. The state is considering allowing for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale watershed, the source of drinking water for 15 million people, including nine million New Yorkers."
[see: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/11/10/watchdog_new_york_state_regulation_of ]
[Solution = Sun + Wind + Geothermal + Energy Efficiency + Conservation (not jeopardizing NY's water)]
Fact #6: Dr. Richard Perez of SUNY-Albany has conclusively proven that ALL of NYS's energy needs could be met completely by solar energy alone-- by covering 0.75% of NY's surface with photovoltaics.
Fact #7: 22,000 jobs across NYS could be created with the bipartisan Bonacic/Cahill Solar Jobs Act of 2011 (for solar renewable energy credits, as in NJ, PA, MA-- all much more heavily incentivizing the purchase of solar for their state residents than New York does here); Germany has less sunlight than NYS but has solar panels all over, the Town of Babylon lends homeowners money for solar as well.
[recall-- sadly (tho ignored by local media), current GOP Dutchess Co. Leg. majority killed Dem resolution from yours truly to send message to Albany on this at last Tues.'s Envir. Comm. mtg.]
[see: http://votesolar.org/new-york-solar-jobs-act-of-2011/ ; http://www.NYSEIA.org/ ;
Fact #8: "14,000 living-wage green jobs are being created because of landmark Green Jobs Green NY legislation passed two years ago to green one million homes across NYS with energy-efficiency retrofits; 90% of NYS homeowners eligible for free energy audits. State-certified contractors perform free or low-cost energy audits for homeowners, looking for repairs and upgrades (air sealing, insulation, new boilers, etc.) that can pay for themselves through energy savings in an 8 - 10 year window.
The work is paid for by the Green New York fund, and homeowners pay the fund over time back out of a portion of their energy savings. They pocket the rest, plus get their homes repaired."
[from http://thinkprogress.org/green/2009/09/13/174424/green-jobs-green-new-york/ ]
Fact #9: Here in Dutchess County alone, homeowners & businesses could save $1 billion on energy costs over next decade on energy efficiency according to Sustainable Hudson Valley's David Dell.
[see: http://www.dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2009/03/our-bright-idea-growin-brighter-and.html ; http://www.nyserda.org/GreenNY/ ; http://www.energyfinancesolutions.com/main/homeownersny ;
http://www.petitiononline.com/pacehere ; http://www.LIGreenHomes.com ; EnergizeBedford.org ]
Fact: #10: It's the real Ponzi scheme Rick Perry should be talking about-- recall June 26th NYTimes on how fracking is Wall St. "Ponzi scheme"-- "Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush"-- http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/us/26gas.html .
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From http://thehill.com/images/stories/blogs/energy/frackletter.pdf ...
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments * Center for Biological Diversity * Center for Environmental Health * Center for Health, Environment & Justice * Center for Media and Democracy * Chesapeake Climate Action Network * Citizens Climate Lobby * Clean Water Network * DeSmogBlog * Earth Day Network * Energy Action Coalition * Environment America * Environmental Health Fund * Food & Water Watch * Friends of the Earth * Global Community Monitor * Greenpeace USA * Health Care Without Harm * Healthy Building Network * International Center for Technology Assessment * Labor Network for Sustainability * Oil Change International * Psychologists for Social Responsibility * Public Citizen * Rainforest Action Network * Science & Environmental Health Network * 350.org * All One Water * Casa Pueblo de Puerto Rico * Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities * Citizens Against Titan * Citizens Campaign for the Environment * Citizens' Environmental Coalition * Citizens for Water * Clean and Healthy New York * Climate Action Alliance of the Valley * Climate Protection Campaign * Communities United for Rights and Environment * Concerned Citizens of Portage County * Concerned Citizens of Ulysses * Damascus Citizens for Sustainability * Delaware Riverkeeper Network * Empire State Consumer Project * Farmworker Association of Florida * Free the Planet (University of Pittsburgh) * Gas Truth of Central Pennsylvania * Kids for Saving Earth * KyotoUSA * La Paix Herb Farm * Los Jardines Institute * Louisiana Bucket Brigade * Marcellus Outreach Butler * Maryland Pesticide Network * Nature Abounds * NC WARN * New Jersey Highlands Coalition * NYH2O * Nueva York Contra el Gasoducto * Ohio Environmental Council * Ohio Student Environmental Coalition * Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition * Pittsburgh Councilman Douglas Shields * Save Maumee Grassroots Organization * Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia * Student Sierra Coalition (Ohio University) *
Tennessee Clean Water Network * UNCW-ECO * Upper Burrell Citizens Against Marcellus Pollution *
Vermont Public Interest Research Group
August 8, 2011
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of Americans who live in every US state and territory, we urge that you employ any
legal means to put a halt to hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), a highly controversial and
dangerous method of "natural" gas exploration, until and unless the environmental and health
impacts of this process are well understood and the public is adequately protected.
Fracking involves shooting millions of gallons of water laced with carcinogenic chemicals deep
underground to break apart rock to release trapped gas. Despite its obvious hazards, regulation
necessary to ensure that fracking does not endanger our nation's water supply has not kept pace
with its rapid and increasing use by the oil and gas industry.
To date, fracking has resulted in over 1,000 documented cases1 of groundwater contamination
across the county, either through the leaking of fracking fluids and methane into groundwater, or
by above ground spills of contaminated and often radioactive wastewater from fracking supplies operations.
Rivers and lakes are also being contaminated with the release of insufficiently treated waste water recovered from fracking operations. In addition, fracking typically results in the release of significant quantities of methane - a potent greenhouse gas - into the atmosphere despite the availability of cost-effective containment measures.
We acknowledge the steps your administration has taken to address fracking. However, much
more needs to be done. For example, EPA has convened an effort to study the impacts of
fracking on drinking water. The first phase will end by 2012, but this study will take several
years to complete. By this time, even more of the nation's drinking water may become
contaminated by fracking. In addition, the EPA study will not include an analysis of the efficacy
of the existing regulatory framework to address fracking impacts. And while Secretary Chu has
assembled a committee to recommend and identify best practices to improve safety and
environmental performance of fracking, best practices, assuming they are even implemented, can
of course not in themselves provide adequate protection from risks that are not yet fully known.
Even if we fully understood all of the environmental and public health impacts of fracking,
federal regulations do not currently manage, mitigate, and reduce these impacts. The lack of
federal protections, combined with the current level and predicted increase of this activity, pose
extreme and unnecessary risks to public health the environment. We urge you to protect the
public through the following actions:
1) Place a moratorium on issuance of federal permits required for fracking . Restrictions or
moratoria of various types have been instituted in several US cities, the Province of
Quebec, and the entirety of France and Australia. A moratorium should be placed on
fracking in the United States until:
sufficient studies, including EPA's study of fracking impacts on groundwater
resources, have been conducted to allow informed decisionmaking on the full
environmental and health impacts of fracking
measures are put in place to minimize and fully mitigate any such impacts,
including impacts to water quality, air quality, and global warming from
unnecessary release of methane emissions
Section 322 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 is repealed to remove the exemption
of hydraulic fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act
2) Lead an open and honest public dialogue about the role of "natural" gas in our energy
future. Touted as a "bridge fuel," it is a bridge to nowhere unless, in light of a full
accounting of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions as well as impact on water
quality and supply, "natural" gas can be demonstrated to be better than other fossil fuels.
Furthermore, as Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency warned
recently, investments in "natural" gas will only delay the necessary transition away from
fossil fuels and detract from important investments in efficiency as well as permanent
energy sources like wind, solar, wave, and geothermal.
Mr. President, last March you said regarding fracking: "we've got to make sure that if we're
going to do it, we do it in a way that doesn't poison people." Because it is poisoning people, we
ask that you take the steps to stop it.
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Halt Fracking! 68 Groups Say to Obama
Blogpost by Kyle Ash - August 8, 2011 at 10:24
This morning, CEOs, founders, and other leaders of 68 organizations sent a letter to President Obama, urging that he do what he can to stop the dangerous extraction of shale gas that is occurring across the country without any federal public safeguards. Often called 'fracking,' communities from Pennsylvania to Texas to Minnesota are already suffering from the numerous environmental problems connected with this process to force "natural" gas from shale several thousand feet below ground.
The letter states,
'Fracking involves shooting millions of gallons of water laced with carcinogenic chemicals deep underground to break apart rock to release trapped gas. Despite its obvious hazards, regulation necessary to ensure that fracking does not endanger our nation's water supply has not kept pace with its rapid and increasing use by the oil and gas industry.
To date, fracking has resulted in over 1,000 documented cases of groundwater contamination across the county, either through the leaking of fracking fluids and methane into groundwater, or by above ground spills of contaminated and often radioactive wastewater from fracking operations. Rivers and lakes are also being contaminated with the release of insufficiently treated waste water recovered from fracking operations. In addition, fracking typically results in the release of significant quantities of methane - a potent greenhouse gas - into the atmosphere despite the availability of cost-effective containment measures.'
Fracked gas may be no 'bridge fuel,' and it certainly is not 'clean energy.' Burning natural gas releases about half the greenhouse gas as burning coal, but fracked gas may produce so much more methane during extraction and processing that it could be as bad or worse than coal for the climate.
The oil and gas industry have good lobbyists, and have achieved years ago exemptions under virtually every federal environmental law, including the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. Companies like Conoco Phillips, Chesapeake Energy and Talisman Energy are not even required to disclose the more than 900 different chemicals used in the fracking process, which contaminate aquifers. Talisman has even targeted children in its lobbying, with 'Terry the Fracosaurus' who promotes an industry that is polluting drinking water with toxic chemicals.
Oil and gas companies have spent over three hundred million dollars in the last two years lobbying against federal protections from their pollution, so it is not too surprising that the federal government has decided to 'shoot now, ask questions later.' There are few efforts by Congress and the administration to mitigate the public health impacts of fracking.
In the next week or two we should see some results fom a panel of experts set up by the Department of Energy, which is supposed to reach conclusions on how to frack safely.
However, the panel is stocked with only frack-friendly experts. EPA is studying impacts on water quality, but that study will take years to complete and is limited in its scope.
While further knowledge about impacts is a certainly a good thing, in this case 'more research' means political procrastination. EPA found 24 years ago that fracking contaminates water supplies. So far the only legislation to get much traction is the 'FRAC Act,' spearheaded by Democracts from Pennsylvania, New York, and Colorado. This bill is an important step to closing one legal loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act, and would require that industry disclose which chemicals they're using.