APRIL 13, 2005 - A widely-used oil and gas production technique is threatening drinking water supplies in many states and should be regulated to protect human health and property values, a panel of experts said today.
During a national teleconference discussion on "hydraulic fracturing" (also known as "fracking"), an Environmental Protection Agency whistle-blower joined municipal water managers, geochemists and private landowners from across the country in calling on Congress and the EPA to protect drinking water supplies from fracking. The technique has impacted drinking water supplies in at least three states.
Washington, DC - The FY2005 Interior Appropriations bill, introduced yesterday by Interior Subcommittee Chair Conrad Burns (R-MT), includes a provision that would delay the increase in the claim maintenance fee that mining companies must pay to maintain an exclusive option to mine on public land.
The fee increase, which was written into rule by the Bush Administration this past July, would raise the fee from $100 to $125 per year. This increase was the first attempt to raise the fee since its original authorization by Congress in 1993. The claim fee, along with a $25 fee to initially stake a mining claim, are the only payment to the public for mining on public lands and are intended to cover administrative costs rather than act as a fair payment to the public. The public does not receive a royalty for the $1 billion in minerals extracted from public lands each year.