Two companion pieces of legislation recently introduced in the House of Representatives target hydraulic fracturing for more stringent federal regulation.
H.R. 1154, the Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effects Act, or BREATHE Act, was introduced by Rep. Polis (D-CO) on March 14th. The bill would require the aggregation of emissions from disparate oil and gas sources in order to trigger permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act (§ 7412(n)(4)). The BREATHE Act would also require EPA to add hydrogen sulfide to the list of hazardous air pollutants under section 112(b) of the Clean Air Act, and to revise the list under section 112(c) to include categories and subcategories of major sources and area sources of hydrogen sulfide, including oil and gas wells.
H.R. 1175, the Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation Act, or FRESHER Act, was introduced by Rep. Cartwright (D-PA) on March 14th. The bill would impose permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act (§ 1342(l)(2)) for industrial stormwater runoff for oil and gas exploration and production. The FRESHER Act would also require EPA to conduct a study of impacts to any area determined to be contaminated by stormwater runoff associated with oil or gas operations. This study is specifically required to include an analysis of measurable contamination, an analysis of groundwater resources, and an analysis of the susceptibility of aquifers to contamination from stormwater runoff associated with oil and gas operations.
The BREATHE Act has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, while the FRESHER Act has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.