Texas Tech University

Federal Policies Related to Hydraulic Fracturing

Clean Air Act (CAA) – The CAA is the law that defines EPA’s responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation’s air quality and the stratospheric ozone layer. The last major change in the law, the CAA Amendment of 1990, was enacted by Congress. Legislation passed since then has made several minor changes.

Clean Water Act (CWA) – The objective of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the CWA, is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters by preventing point and non-point pollution sources, providing assistance to publicly owned treatment works for the improvement of wastewater treatment, and maintaining the integrity of wetlands.

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) – The SDWA is the main federal law that ensures the quality of America’s drinking water. Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – The TSCA of 1976 provides EPA with authority to enforce reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides. TSCA addresses the production, importation, use, and disposal of specific chemicals including PCBs, asbestos, radon and lead-based paint.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) – The CERCLA, a 1980 law commonly known as Superfund, authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to respond to releases, or threatened releases, of hazardous substances that may endanger public health, welfare, or the environment. CERCLA also enables EPA to force parties responsible for environmental contamination to clean it up or to reimburse the Superfund for response or remediation costs incurred by EPA. The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 revised various sections of CERCLA, extended the taxing authority for the Superfund, and created a free-standing law, SARA Title III, also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) – The objectives of the RCRA are to protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal, to conserve energy and natural resources, to reduce the amount of waste generated, and to ensure that wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner. RCRA regulates the management of solid waste (i.e. garbage), hazardous waste, and underground storage tanks holding petroleum products or certain chemicals.

Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) ActPlease note that this has NOT been passed. FRAC Act of 2013 – Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal the exemption from restrictions on underground injection of fluids or propping agents granted to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities under such Act. Requires:
* state underground injection programs to direct a person conducting hydraulic fracturing operations to disclose to the state (or the Administrator if the Administrator has primary enforcement responsibility in such state) the chemicals intended for use in underground injections prior to the commencement of such operations and the chemicals actually used after the end of such operations, and
* a state or the Administrator to make such disclosure available to the public.
Requires a person conducting hydraulic fracturing operations, when a medical emergency exists and the proprietary chemical formula of a chemical used in such operations is necessary for medical treatment, to disclose such formula or the specific chemical identity of a trade secret chemical to the state, the Administrator, or the treating physician or nurse upon request, regardless of whether a written statement of need or a confidentiality agreement has been provided.