For Immediate Release,
February 3, 2020
WASHINGTON— Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced legislation today to immediately ban fracking for oil and gas on all federal public lands onshore and offshore. The bill also would forbid any new federal permits for fossil fuel infrastructure such as pipelines, natural gas export terminals and ethane cracker plants.
“This fracking ban bill is desperately needed if we’re going to stop the climate crisis,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “It’s the big, bold action that’s required so future generations can have a livable planet.”
In addition to the immediate fracking ban on public lands, the bill would end all fracking on private lands beginning in 2025. Fossil fuel production would only continue if no further fracking was required to extract oil or gas.
The bill also requires all fracked wells within 2,500 feet of where people live, work and go to school to be shut down as of Feb. 1, 2021, to protect public health and promote environmental justice.
Fracking is an extreme oil-extraction process that blasts a mixture of toxic chemicals and water into the ground to crack open oil-bearing rocks. According to the Bureau of Land Management, about 90% of new oil and gas wells on public lands are fracked. Oil and gas production contributes significantly to U.S. greenhouse gas pollution.
“Fracking poisons our waters, sickens our children and destroys our public lands and wildlife,” said Siegel. “It’s long past time to toss this filthy, dangerous activity into the dustbin of history.”
Injecting toxic wastewater produced by fracking into the ground pollutes rivers and groundwater, causes earthquakes that damage infrastructure and property, and pollutes the air with dangerous toxins linked to human illness and death.