Let’s hold gas companies accountable for fracking | AspenTimes.com

Let’s hold gas companies accountable for fracking

Dear Editor:

Hello, we are a Project Citizen group at Basalt High School and we are trying to solve the problematic process of hydraulic fracturing. There is no doubt that natural gas is a cleaner alternative than other fossil fuels, but obtaining it has proven to be controversial. There are more than 596 chemicals being used in the process and they are destroying the environment, people’s health and wildlife.

After examining a wide variety of policies to fix this issue, we developed our own proposal. Our proposal, EFR (Elimination, Fine, Regulate), will help hold gas companies accountable for the damage they have created and will create.

Our first step is to eliminate the “Halliburton Loophole.” The loophole is restricting the government’s ability to regulate the harmful effects of the chemicals. If it were eliminated, fracking could finally be regulated and all the water violations would be uncovered. The use of the chemicals would have to stop.

The next step would be to raise the fines imposed upon companies who violate the Safe Drinking Water Act and other environmental regulations. The biggest fine ever given to a gas company in Colorado was $37,122 for a gas leak that polluted West Divide Creek, near Silt. This clearly did not break the companies bank, as EnCana is still going strong. The fines need to increase to actually impact them.

These funds from the fines could be used to finance more regulation of gas drilling. We propose that the government inspect each rig at least once per year. The inspections will find problems, and that will lead to more funding and more regulation. The use of these chemicals will eventually come to an end.

Giulio Del Piccolo, Jacob Bugner,

Jenna Linden and Jaime Hurtado

Students at Basalt High School

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