Here is Josh Fox’s letter to the President and Congress in its entirety:
Dear Members of Congress, President Obama, Members of the Press, and Citizens of the United States,
In writing this statement, I wish to address the severe Environmental, Public Health and Human and Civil Rights abuses that the deregulated Natural Gas Industry has wrought on the citizens of the United States as a result of the massive gas drilling campaign that has been ravaging the country over the past decade. As documented in the film GASLAND, in hundreds of news stories, personal accounts, independent and State and Federal Government reports, I have seen a dire crisis taking shape across America as a result of gas drilling. I hope that legislation introduced in Congress this year will address these issues, and we hope for a bi-partisan acknowledgement of the dangers of Fracking similar to the Moratorium recently placed in New York State.
I am calling on President Obama to acknowledge the numerous dangers, hazards and injustices created by Hydraulic Fracturing for natural gas and urge him to take immediate action to address the problem. I am distressed that the President included natural gas in his list of “clean energy” sources during his recent State of the Union Address and I urge him not include fracked gas in that category. I have great hopes that President Obama will act in the public’s interest, take heed of these recommendations and act swiftly to address this crisis. We hope that President Obama can be a friend to our cause and work with the organizations and members of Congress assembled here today with haste and diligence.
I have compiled a list of recommendations from my travels and work across the country with leaders and affected communities on the issue, and I submit a partial list of strong recommendations here. I feel compelled to say that these recommendations are representative of the concerns of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people across the country.
And the GASLAND Team
WE CALL UPON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR AN IMMEDIATE MORATORIUM ON DRILLING, PERMITTING AND FRACKING UNTIL THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS ARE MET:
1. END THE FEDERAL EXEMPTIONS
We demand that the Natural Gas Industry’s exemptions to the following laws be ended immediately:
Safe Drinking Water Act
Clean Water Act
Clean Air Act
Natural Gas drilling should be subject to the same laws as every other Industrial, Private or Commercial sector.
2. END TO FEDERAL SUBSIDIES FOR FRACKING.
Fossil Fuel Industries receive three times the level of Federal Subsidies as compared to Renewable Energy Sources. This creates an unfair advantage in the marketplace for fossil fuel drilling technologies such as Hydraulic Fracturing, which undercut truly green forms of energy.
3. EXPANSION OF EPA STUDY AND CREATION OF INDEPENDENT HEALTH STUDY and EPA PERMITTING.
Fracking has never been proven to be safe. Thousands of contamination cases, and testimonials across the country, point to a massive failure to protect water, air and human health. Each of these cases must be investigated and damage must be assessed.
We appreciate that the EPA has just begun a study of Hydraulic Fracturing but it is under-funded and incomplete.
a) EPA must broaden the scope of its current ecological study. The current EPA Study is only funded through the end of this year and does not adequately address issues of hazardous emissions and overall emissions from gas drilling.
b) EPA Ecological study must be conducted by scientists without conflict of interest.
c) A five-year parallel health impact assessment should be conducted in all of the most areas by an independent third party working alongside the EPA, either from an unbiased charitable foundation or an esteemed University.
d) Fracking should require permitting from EPA as well as state and local departments of environmental protection/planning.
4. IMMEDIATE HEALTH/ECOLOGICAL CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN DRILLING AREAS
We call upon the Federal Government to immediately address concerns of citizens in areas that have been drilled and are experiencing negative ecological and health effects. Recommendations include but are not limited to: 1) Vapor recovery units to control emissions at existing well-sites, separators, refineries, compressor stations and condensate tanks, 2) Replacement water via municipal pipelines in areas where aquifers have been contaminated and, 3) Restoration of areas that have been industrialized with compressor stations, refineries and other gas drilling and refining machinery to a state appropriate for residential use. Communities experiencing irreparable damage should be compensated appropriately for loss of property and physical injury.
5. BURDEN OF PROOF-
THE GAS COMPANIES AND FRACKING PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS-
Product manufacturers must be required to disclose chemical ingredients in the products used to drill and Frack to the general public, landowners and surrounding communities in accordance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Chemicals should be listed and made publicly available online on well-by-well basis. If a chemical listed by the product manufacturers is found in a citizens private well or in a municipal water source, and is not found to be naturally occurring in the geology before drilling, both the product manufacturer and the drilling and extraction companies shall have the burden of proving that contamination was not caused by the drilling company.
Independent Baseline Water Testing should be mandated for all chemicals used in drilling and paid for by companies wishing to drill in any area where people are dependent upon groundwater.
6. CHEMICAL PRODUCT IDENTIFICATION- BENIGN ISOTOPE ID’s AFFIXED TO FRACKING CHEMICALS
Each chemical product used in Fracking for underground injection, should be tagged with a non-radioactive isotope so that it is easily identifiable if these compounds should migrate into drinking water supplies. Each Fracking product will be required to have its own non-radioactive isotope so that there is no doubt as to the migration of such chemicals into underground water supplies.
7. TRACKING AND REPORTING OF WASTE
Currently there is a huge problem with illegal dumping and improper disposal/treatment of drilling waste. Every drop of drilling waste, drilling fluids, produced water or drill cuttings should be identified by its contents, tracked and reported in trucks that carry hazardous waste placards and must have a detailed and outlined waste management program for disposal and/or treatment. Contents of hazardous waste should be posted online in an easily accessible manner with waste routes and disposal sites clearly outlined. Any truck deviating from the designated waste route should be immediately suspended and all work on the site from which waste emanated should be immediately halted.
I have the health and safety of the thousands of concerned citizens that I have met during my past three years of investigation in mind in submitting these initial recommendations to the Press and to the Government of the United States of America. I urge you to please act with diligence and honesty in your appraisals and not to turn a blind eye to the massive movement across the US that is outraged at the gas drilling industry and the damage that it has caused.