The Fracking Industry Has Bought Off Congress: Here Are the Worst Offenders | | AlterNet

Here are some excerpts. Read the full story here.

The good news is that, thanks to illuminating documentaries like Josh Fox’s Gasland and determined pressure from activists in and out of the mainstream, the toxic ravages of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, are no longer the shale gas sector’s dirty secret.

…That power was depressingly dissected in Common Cause’s recent report, Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets, which explained that earnings junkies like Exxon, Koch and more have paid House and Senate politicians on select energy and commerce committees nearly $750 million over the last decade to smother regulatory oversight of the expanding fracking practice, whose complete chemical components still remain a relative mystery.

…”The natural gas industry has spent billions on lobbying and advertising to convince Americans that natural gas is a cleaner, cheaper alternative to oil,” Common Cause regional director James Browning, co-author with Alex Kaplan of Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets, told AlterNet.

…”But while fracking’s exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act is rightly called the ‘Halliburton loophole’ and the vast majority of our top 100 recipients of fracking money are Republicans, it’s important to note the extent of the industry’s influence among Democrats,” he added. “In Pennsylvania, the only state without a severance tax on natural gas extraction, previous Democratic governor Ed Rendell only made an issue of imposing a tax during his last year in office, too late to make it a reality.

…Currently, the FRAC Act, which would repeal fracking’s exemption from the Safe Water Drinking Act, also languishes in the 112th Congress, where it is still taking its first legislative steps while sponsored by Colorado’s Democratic congresswoman Diana DeGette.

…”The fact that we have a proven case of a connection between hydraulic fracturing and the contamination of an aquifer underscores just how important it is that we take cautionary steps to protect our communities’ water supply,” said DeGette in December, after Colorado implemented a new fracking disclosure rule.

…”As the potential dangers of fracking become harder to ignore, two of the most interesting developments are the hard questions being asked by banks and mortgage brokers, who don’t want to be left with a lot of potentially permanently polluted property, and by the shareholders at oil and gas companies,” Browning explained.

…”We need to take this momentary victory in the Delaware River and move across Pennsylvania and the United States to stop fracking,” Gasland director Fox tweeted in November, after the Northeast’s Delaware River Basin Commission — which includes the governors of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and an official from the Army Corp of Engineers — postponed further meetings about regulating fracking in the region.

…Plus, we’ve already reached the realm of the ludicrous: When a nation of drill junkies forces its planet to return fire with earthquakes, in hopes of changing our distracted minds and dirty habits, then it’s time to move onto the green economy, no matter the capital costs.

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