Polis: EPA rules needed to reduce fracking pollution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Jared Polis joined other House lawmakers Monday in urging the Obama administration to finalize proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules that would regulate emissions from hydraulic fracturing.

When fully implemented, the rules would lead to significant air-pollution reduction, according to Polis’ office.

“As we’ve seen in Colorado and in communities across the country, fracking is increasingly encroaching on homes and schools, and bringing with it serious health concerns,” Polis said. “The new EPA rules are a common-sense approach to issues we’re seeing in Colorado. … Natural gas is an important part of our energy future, but we have to make sure we extract it while protecting public health.”

Hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals underground to release gas from shale. Oil and gas industry representatives contend that fracking is safe.

Emission reductions would come from ending the practice of venting or flaring pollution from new hydraulically fractured gas wells, Polis’ office said. The rules instead would require companies to capture those emissions.

Increased domestic drilling has led to growing health problems, a letter signed by Polis and 20 other members of Congress reads.

“This rapid expansion, largely related to new types of hydraulic fracturing, is increasingly occurring adjacent to population centers including private residences and schools, with reported health problems growing in tandem,” the letter reads.

The letter originated with Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a New York state Democrat who is a leader in the effort to protect drinking water and the environment from the risks of hydraulic fracturing.

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