|5:16 PM EST||
Alan Lowenthal, D-CA 47th
Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, this is the final amendment to the bill, which will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill will immediately proceed to final passage, as amended.
Mr. Speaker, transparency and public disclosure are critical ingredients to successful public policy and, I would dare say so, to successful democracy. My amendment would provide just that--transparency and public disclosure of the hydraulic fracturing operations that are now prolific in so many States.
Right now, our communities do not have access to reliable or complete information about fracking operations. Colleagues, our communities have a right to know.
If the public has a right to know what ingredients are in their food, don't our communities have a right to know what chemicals the oil and gas industry is going to pump past their drinking water?
If the public has a right to know where Superfund pollution sites are, don't our communities have a right to know where the oil and gas industry is going to store these millions of gallons of unknown chemicals and contaminated slurry?
If the public has a right to know about major land-use changes, don't our communities have a right to know when the oil and gas industry is going to start a fracking operation next-door--with its accompanying air emissions? its truck traffic? its noise? and its derricks?
I would hope that encouraging transparency and public disclosure would be a bipartisan issue. I certainly hear about transparency from the majority when this Chamber is talking about other Federal programs. We should be consistent and make sure the people in our communities also have a right to know about fracking chemicals injected below their backyards, their schools, their farms, and their parks.
And to those who would resist providing the community a right to know about fracking operations, I would warn that you prevent transparency at the oil and gas industry's own peril.
To develop our resources responsibly and to harness the benefits of the shale gas boom, we need the public's trust, and industry will not earn it if they hide the facts. When the oil and gas industry refuses to disclose the facts, it is natural for the public to ask then: Why won't industry tell us what chemicals they are using? What are they hiding?
When the oil and gas industry hides the facts, it erodes the public's trust and breeds suspicion.
Hiding the facts prevents first responders and health workers from understanding how to appropriately treat exposed individuals after a fracking accident.
Hiding the facts prevents emergency officials from understanding how to properly contain and clean up a chemical spill after a fracking accident.
Hiding the facts prevents the public from knowing which chemicals to test for in their drinking water before, during, and after fracking.
Hiding the facts prevents researchers who conduct chemical transport studies from understanding the prevalence, the movement, and the longevity of fracking chemicals in the subsurface environment.
Hiding the facts prevents the public from verifying the oil and gas industry's assertion that hydraulic fracturing is safe.
Don't hide the facts. Our communities have a right to know. Vote ``yes'' on the motion to recommit.
I yield back the balance of my time.