I bet you're wondering what the heck "fracking" is. That's a good question.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a controversial drilling technique used by the oil and gas industry that has injected millions of tons of highly toxic chemical fluids into the ground to break apart shale and release natural gas.
Scientists believe these chemicals are poisoning America's drinking water.
That didn't stop Vice President Dick Cheney from exempting fracking from the Safe Water Drinking Act in the 2005 Energy Bill or the natural gas industry from unleashing a massive 34-state drilling campaign.
Now, six years later, with the facts stacking up showing the damage being caused and the American lives being placed at risk, a few members of Congress are standing up to close the loophole and hold the oil and gas production industry to the same standards as any other industry to ensure the safe protection of America's drinking water.
But they'll need our help to win. Join us in calling on Congress to pass the FRAC Act now.
Representatives Diana DeGette, Jared Polis, and Maurice Hinchey have introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act in the U.S. House while Senators Bob Casey and Chuck Schumer have introduced the companion bill in the U.S. Senate.
In the past, the oil and gas industry has spent millions of dollars fighting against these common-sense regulations and have succeeded in defeating similar bills. This time, we're not going to let Congress fight the industry alone.
That's why Democracy for America is building a coalition of grassroots activists and environmental organizations to work together with leaders in Congress to pass the FRAC Act this year.
We'll educate the public, expose scientific studies that reveal the real risks, hold rallies, meetings, public forums, and organize grassroots action until we win.
It's been reported that since 1999 more than 90 percent of the natural gas wells have used the fracking process. Because of the Safe Water Drinking Act exemption, industry is not required to reveal the exact chemicals used in fracking, but researchers in independent scientific studies suspect 65 percent of the compounds used in fracking are hazardous to human health.
It only takes low concentrations of benzene and diesel fuel, two compounds found in fracking studies, to lead to severe health and environmental consequences and illnesses traced to fracking have been documented in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Alabama.
As if that wasn't enough to demand proper regulation and environmental oversight, a recent New York Times article revealed that the inability to properly process wastewater from fracking, may even be allowing radioactive materials into local rivers, streams, and drinking water.
The oil and gas industry is too big and too powerful for us to let members of Congress take them on alone. It's up to us to stand with them, fight back, and make sure they have the support they'll need to win.
Thank you for everything you do.
Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America
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