Since 2005, fracking techniques used in oil and gas development have been exempt from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, with one important exemption: “when diesel fuel is used.” Diesel’s widespread use in fracking means chemicals linked to cancer, kidney and liver problems, and nervous system damage now threaten drinking water sources. These chemicals dissolve easily in water and are toxic at very low levels.
In May, EPA unveiled new proposals for protecting drinking water sources from fracking that uses diesel, and invited input from the public. Since then, Clean Water Action members have stepped up to make the case for the strongest possible protections, submitting nearly 30,000 cards, letters and e-mails for the agency’s consideration. “The frackers, Big Oil and Gas companies, are doing everything they can to block these controls,” says Clean Water Action’s Lynn Thorp, “So our members are having a huge positive impact in this fight to protect our water.”