Washington, D.C. – This Saturday, August 8 marks the 10th anniversary of what largely enabled America’s oil and gas fracking boom: the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and a key provision of it known commonly as the “Halliburton Loophole.” The provision specifically exempted fracking operations from critical parts of benchmark environmental regulations like the Safe Drinking Water Act, enabling the oil and gas industry to develop fracking on a large national scale. Named after Dick Cheney (a leading supporter of the exemptions) and the drilling services corporation he ran before becoming vice president, the Halliburton Loophole and the entire Energy Policy Act was signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush on Aug. 8, 2005.
The following is a statement on this notable upcoming anniversary from Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch and author of the upcoming book Frackopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Energy and The Environment:
“A decade into America’s fracking boom, the evidence of its immense harms to human health and our environment is vast and ever-growing. With more than 10 million Americans now living within a mile of a fracking site, it’s no surprise that families across the nation have been weakened by the sickness and toxic pollution this extreme fossil fuel drilling method has been repeatedly shown to cause. For all of this we can thank Dick Cheney and his Halliburton Loophole, which made fracking possible by exempting it from our most fundamental environmental protection laws.
“The 10th anniversary of the Energy Policy Act and its Halliburton Loophole is a sad occasion, but it provides us with a ripe opportunity to reexamine our nation’s disastrous policy of doubling-down on fossil fuels over the last decade. For the sake of countless Americans who are currently suffering health effects of fracking, and the countless more who might yet suffer, we must immediately curtail our development of fossil fuels and turn decisively toward a truly clean, renewable energy future.”
Background: Fracking, also called “hydraulic fracturing,” is a destructive process that corporations like Halliburton, BP and ExxonMobil use to extract natural gas and oil from rock that lies deep underground. They drill a deep well and inject millions of gallons of toxic fracking fluid – a mix of water, sand and harsh chemicals – at a high enough pressure to fracture the rock and release the oil or gas.
Thanks to the Halliburton Loophole—also commonly referred to as the Cheney Loophole—fracking is exempt from major environmental laws, including the Safe Drinking Water Act. Learn more about fracking.
Contact: Seth Gladstone – sgladstone[at]fwwatch[dot]org, 347.778.2866
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.