Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lawmakers Call on EPA to Address Drilling Air Pollution, Laud Announcement of Updated Rules

Congressman Jared Polis
2nd District, Colorado | 501 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 |
Media Release: July 28, 2011 Contact: Chris Fitzgerald (Polis), 202-225-2161; Mike Morosi (Hinchey), 202-225-6335

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today lauded the announcement of new drilling air pollution rules and called for tighter safeguards to protect public health. The new proposed rules announced today by the Environmental Protection Agency update federal limits on air pollution caused by oil and gas drilling, a growing problem throughout the country. The rapid expansion of shale gas drilling associated with hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has been accompanied by severe regional air quality problems and growing air related health concerns.

“Small town America shouldn’t have Los Angeles-quality air, but in areas where gas drilling is booming that’s exactly the case,” said Polis. “Until we can close industry exemptions and loopholes within the law, this overdue update to our clean air laws is welcome and desperately needed.”

"I applaud the EPA for making the right decision," said Hinchey. "Air pollution that results from gas drilling should not be exempt from baseline standards designed to protect public health and the environment. Families in New York and throughout the country shouldn't have to worry that their kids are breathing in toxic air polluted by a neighboring frack drilling operation. This is one step of many that must be taken to help curtail the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing."

With today’s news, Polis, Hinchey and fourteen of their House colleagues also called on the EPA to add hydrogen sulfide, known popularly as “poison gas,” to the list of hazardous air pollutants within the Clean Air Act. This move is being considered by the EPA, but was not included in this proposal. Polis and Hinchey introduced the BREATHE Act, (Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effects Act, H.R. 1204), which reverses gas drilling exemptions from the Clean Air Act, and adds hydrogen sulfide as a hazardous air pollutant.

Information on the EPA’s Proposed Update is here.

Information on the BREATHE Act can be found here.

Member Letter to EPA can be found here. Or you can view it below.


Our masks are off to Rep. Jared Polis! We, the people, that wish to breathe and survive on clean, air applaud you and your co-signers commitment to addressing hydrogen sulfide in H.R. 1204, the BREATHE (Bringing Reductions to Energy's Airborne Toxic Health Effects) Act.

The addition of hydrogen sulfide as a regulated hazardous air pollutant under subsection 112(b)(1) is a critical first step in this unregulated 'fracking' world. We understand that you have sent this follow-up letter in regards to an earlier petition and we believe that you will not give up.  It is up to EPA Administrator Jackson to respond to your communications in a manner that is both effective and timely.


Hydrogen sulfide (British English: hydrogen sulphide) is the chemical compound with the formula H2S. It is a colorless, very poisonous, flammable gas with the characteristic foul odor of rotten eggs at concentrations up to 100 parts per million. It often results from the bacterial breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, such as in swamps and sewers; this process is commonly known as anaerobic digestion. It also occurs in volcanic gases, natural gas, and some well waters. The human body produces small amounts of H2S and uses it as a signaling molecule. Source: Wikipedia

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