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Tell the Bureau of Land Management: Ban fracking on federal lands

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    Tell the Bureau of Land Management: Ban fracking on federal lands

    The Obama administration recently released its first major fracking policy--the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rules for fracking on 600 million acres of public land. And it’s even worse than we feared.1

    In a major concession to the fracking industry and its lobbying efforts, the proposed rules are even weaker than previous drafts of the rules.2 3 The proposed rules are so weak that their provisions for disclosing toxic fracking chemical were literally written by ExxonMobil, part of the “model legislation” pushed by the ultra-conservative American Legislative Exchange Council!4 And they do nothing to close Dick Cheney’s infamous “Halliburton loophole,” which exempts fracking from key parts of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act.5

    Of course, it’s become clear that there is simply no safe way to frack. So even worse than the concessions made to industry in the draft regulations is the assumption that fracking should be allowed to continue on federal lands despite overwhelming evidence that it endangers our air, water and climate.

    The BLM is accepting public comments on its proposed fracking rules until August 23. We need to let the administration know that these rules are totally inadequate. The administration needs to ban fracking on public lands – not cave to the industry and endanger our health and safety.

    Submit a public comment telling the Bureau of Land Management: Ban fracking on federal lands.

    An area of federal land larger than the entire state of Florida is currently under lease for oil and gas extraction, so this is one of the most important fracking policy decisions the Obama administration will make.6

    Unfortunately, every indication is that the White House is still putting the interests of oil and gas companies before the health and safety of American communities.

    Not only would the rules let the industry keep secret the toxic chemicals it injects underground by designating them as "trade secrets," the rules allow the industry to store contaminated waste in massive open pits which can be a source of toxic air and groundwater contamination, and the rules do nothing to prevent the industry from fracking wells right next to homes and schools.

    And of course, the harm fracking does to local communities is compounded by its significant contribution to the climate crisis.7 As the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passes 400 parts per million--well beyond what many scientists say is safe--the Obama administration should be working to keep its promise to confront climate change, not encouraging the extraction of vast new reserves of dirty oil and gas.

    Submit a public comment telling the Bureau of Land Management: Ban fracking on federal lands.

    1. Steven Mufson, "Obama administration issues draft fracking regulations," Washington Post, May 16, 2013
    2. Matthew McFeeley, "Obama Administration Caves To Fracking Industry in New Proposed Rules," NRDC Switchboard, May 16, 2013
    3. Mike Soraghan, "White House huddled with industry before changes to BLM fracking rule," EnergyWire, April 12, 2013
    4. Steve Horn, "Obama Admin. Approves ALEC Model Bill for Fracking Chemical Fluid Disclosure on Public Lands," DeSmogBlog, May 20, 2013
    5. Lauren Pagel and Lisa Sumi, "Loopholes for Polluters," Earthworks, May 16, 2011
    6. Amy Mall, "More than six percent of U.S. already leased for oil and gas: new NRDC analysis," NRDC Switchboard, February 26, 2013
    7. Joe Romm, "IEA’s 'Golden Age of Gas Scenario' Leads to More Than 6°F Warming and Out-of-Control Climate Change," ThinkProgress, June 7, 2011