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Bucks, Montgomery County, PA May 20, 2014 Election
Smart Voter

Natural Gas Drilling

By Shaughnessy Naughton

Candidate for US Representative; Pennsylvania Congressional District; District 8; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
"As a scientist, I'm trained to form opinions using evidence-based research. Unfortunately, there is still too much we don't know about fracking. That leads me to conclude that we should not allow natural gas drilling until we are sure that it is no longer a public health concern. As a Member of Congress, I will work hard to keep the fracking moratorium in Bucks and Montgomery Counties in place."

Shaughnessy Naughton
Democratic Candidate, PA-08

As a chemist, Shaughnessy Naughton understands that natural gas drilling has many potential public health and environmental risks. She unequivocally supports the fracking moratorium in Bucks and Montgomery Counties passed in 2012. The fracking ban in the two counties operates as both a state and federal ban; the federal ban came in 2009, when the administrators of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) determined they needed to ban fracking along the length of the River until guidelines were drawn up.

The Delaware River, which weaves along Bucks County, contributes to the entire region: at 330 miles it is the longest American river east of the Mississippi, providing drinking water for more than 15 million people, as well as water needed for industry and irrigation for Pennsylvania's important farming regions. Moreover, the Delaware River basin is prone to severe floods, so chemical storage near the source of so much drinking water is a serious hazard.

Fracking uses a toxic chemical cocktail called fracking fluid, but companies refuse to say what exact contaminants are in the fluid, claiming that the contents are proprietary information. Rather than allowing fracking companies to hide behind the cloak of "trade secrets," Naughton supports full disclosure and transparency of the chemicals that drillers inject underground. It is far too big a health hazard to allow companies to drill using dangerous chemicals that can get into so many people's drinking water.

Cutting edge research shows that natural gas drilling can be done in a safe way without adding the greenhouse gas methane to the atmosphere. While still more research is needed, in Congress, Naughton will introduce legislation mandating all fracking companies install facilities that allow for "clean gas" fracking. Naughton pledges to sponsor legislation that will require clean water experts to regulate drilling. It is still unknown, for instance, how much radon--a radioactive gas that causes lung cancer--is in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale. It is also unknown whether or not gas and brine can make a path to the surface.

Naughton also supports a five percent fee on fracking companies, and will work with state legislatures to make sure that a portion of these fees will be dedicated to financing renewable energy in Pennsylvania. Clean energy alternatives like wind, solar, and rain energy can create good jobs for workers in the Eighth District. Naughton understands that natural gas drilling technology is here and that there is an opportunity to create new jobs + the question is how to use this technology safely. As a scientist and a small business owner, Naughton is uniquely positioned to weigh the serious health risks of fracking with the potential economic boom natural gas drilling could be for Pennsylvania.

Shaughnessy Naughton's Natural Gas Drilling Agenda

  • Work with state legislators and the next governor to charge fees on energy companies to finance renewable energy programs in Pennsylvania. While the bulk of these fees would go into the state treasury, a portion should be dedicated to financing clean energy in Pennsylvania. I also support additional funding for Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which provides federal funding for alternative energy research and will work to tie this federal funding with state funds, to help create new jobs in the Eighth District and throughout Pennsylvania.

  • Sponsor legislation to amend the Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA) to expand federal regulation on fracking. We must ensure that company practices do not pollute drinking water. While there have been proposals to allow clean water experts to regulate drilling since 2011, Republicans in Congress, like Congressman Fitzpatrick, refuse to allow these bills to come to a vote.

  • Introduce legislation permanently banning fracking on the Delaware River basin. It would be irresponsible to even remotely threaten a source of drinking water for 15 million people by allowing companies to drill using and storing dangerous chemicals that can get into our potable water.

  • Introduce legislation requiring that all drilling companies submit to federal Safe Water Drinking Act standards. In addition drilling companies should submit to tough floodwater protections, and storage requirements must be enacted for any new permits.

  • Ensure that no future permits in Pennsylvania are issued until companies sign a binding agreement to pay the 12.5 percent share of actual sales--no exceptions. Too many landowners, particularly in the Marcellus Shale region, are being taken advantage of because companies are exploiting loopholes to adjust the books and pay less than their share.

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