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COLUMN: Time for facts to prevail in HF debate in Illinois

NOTE: this article originally appeared in the Southern Illinoisan

Reject false talking points

To the Editor:

Mr. Fedder mentions large volumes of water to be used for hydraulic fracturing, but does not put them in context. Numerous reports, including one for the U.S. Department of Energy, show the water required accounts for less than one percent of total demand.

He claims the “Halliburton Loophole” exempts hydraulic fracturing from federal regulation. In reality, that provision simply affirmed that states should continue to regulate hydraulic fracturing, a system that even the EPA has defended.

He suggests wastewater is exempt from federal regulation. Disposal of wastewater is regulated under the U.S. EPA’s Class II injection program, and has been for decades.

He inflates the risk of earthquakes, even though the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Research Council have stated numerous times that hydraulic fracturing does not pose a serious risk of earthquakes.

He cites methane leakages rates from NOAA, but even the Environmental Defense Fund says “conclusions should not be drawn about total leakage based on these preliminary, localized reports.”

He cites health issues in Texas and Pennsylvania, even though regulators in both states have used air monitoring to determine emissions do not reach levels harmful to public health.

Hydraulic fracturing has helped unlock abundant supplies of natural gas, which EPA has credited with historic declines in both greenhouse gases and toxic air pollution.

Having lost the argument on the merits, those arguing for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing are leveraging false talking points to scare the public. Illinois deserves better.

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