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What the Frack ? A Play by Jesse Miller. Starring Catherine Hammack Dawn Lee Ben Winikoff. WHAT THE FRACK? A PLAY.

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what the frack a play by jesse miller

What the Frack? A Play by Jesse Miller


Catherine Hammack

Dawn Lee

Ben Winikoff

what the frack a play
  • Communities: Hi may name is Communities, Concerned Communities. I’m really worried about these massive Fracking operations popping up everywhere. I’ve heard that lots of chemicals are pumped into the ground all around us. That freaks me out! I wish I could at least know what chemicals are being used! If I knew what chemicals are used, I could do baseline testing to monitor and protect my groundwater. My medical and wildlife personnel could have chemical information necessary to treat accidents resulting from drilling! I could know about toxins in order to raise awareness of potential negative effects of Fracking!
  • Industry: Wait a minute, this is Industry, Fracking Industry. Everyone know regulation kills Industry. We’re not about to tell you what chemicals are used in Fracking. Way to look a gift horse in the mouth, Communities! If it were not for us, you would have no jobs and you would be paying lots more for energy.
  • Communities: Yeah, you’re alright, Industry, and we like the benefits of Fracking, but we can’t really enjoy those benefits when we turn our tapwater on and its brown and flammable. Lower energy costs and more jobs are good, but not at the cost of cancer and environmental havoc …… Hey, wait a minute, where’s Government isn’t she supposed to help protect me?
  • Government: Umm, wait, uhh, did someone say my name? Between sequestering, filibustering, and shutting down, I almost forgot about y’all.
  • Communities: Oh hey Government, why are Fracking companies not forced to tell us or regulators what chemicals they’re using? Aren’t there disclosure rules for operators under the Safe Water and other Acts?
  • Government: Oh, uhh, Fracking operators are exempt from all those Federal disclosure rules. The Halliburton Loophole of 2005 carves out Fracking operators from disclosure rules.
  • Industry: Haha that was pretty awesome. It was super convenient that one of our biggest past energy executives, Dick Cheney, managed to be vice-president so the Halliburton rule could be enacted at his bequest.
  • Communities: Oh darn. Well in the absence of federal regulation, can state government help us at all?
  • Government: States have enacted Fracking chemical disclosure laws. However, they vary considerably state-to-state and are far from comprehensive. Also, they heavily rely on self-reporting and supply substantial “trade-secret” exemptions.
  • Industry: Also – states don’t really enforce their disclosure rules. State executives are not incentivized to be heavy handed in their regulation because they don’t want to upset Frackers – a big source of tax revenue and political contributions. Basically, Communities, we do what we want at the state level. Too bad for you, huh?
  • Communities: Comon, Industry, why are you being such a jerk? We’re your Communities! Your Shareholders and Stakeholders! Your country and your future! Why don’t you help us out of the goodness of your heart and disclose chemicals so we can be informed!
  • Industry: Ok, ok, I’m sorry. We can self-regulate. We’re good guys. We’ll put some chemical info on our websites and we’ll even fund a central clearinghouse for comprehensive chemical info – it’s called Frackfocus, check it out. See Communities and Government – we can self-regulate so you can stop worrying!
  • Government: Umm, hey Communities, you should know that a Harvard study just came out basically showing that Industry’s self regulation is a sham. The info relies on self-reporting and is incomplete- they leave out some chemicals used. Frackfocus is not the solution, it simply obscures the need for a solution.
  • Communities: Hmmm. I know what I’ll do! I’ll initiate shareholder proposals in public Fracking companies recommending disclosure of chemicals!
  • Industry: Nice try, bud, but your proposals, when not excluded by the SEC, are just going to get voted against. Money moneymoney … ultimately we and our investors are not going to do anything that risks killing the polluted goose that lays the greenish gold, glowing, eggs.
  • Communities: Government, you need to step in! The only real way to get comprehensive chemical disclosure is through strict federal regulation!
  • Government: Um, I guess we could simply repeal the Halliburton Loophole. That would do it. In fact, there has been pending legislation in Congress– the “FRAC ACT”- that would do just that, close the loophole. But the FRAC Act has languished in committee and doesn’t really have a chance of getting passed.
  • Communites: So basically, as of now, I’m just FRACKED….


fracking chemical disclosure
Fracking Chemical Disclosure
  • Why does it matter?
  • Baseline testing
  • Medical and environmental personnel
  • Inform the public
  • Foster R&D for greener chemical alternatives
federal regulation
Federal Regulation
  • Fracking operators should be required to disclose chemicals used under a plethora of federal disclosure laws
        • CWA
        • SDWA
        • Superfund Act
        • Etc.
  • Fracking industry has succeeded in avoiding federal disclosure
        • Halliburton Loophole
        • Trade secret (pretense?)
industry self regulation
Industry Self Regulation
  • Frackfocus
    • Harvard study showing it to be deeply flawed
    • Shareholder Proposals
        • Ineffective
        • Disclosure on Fracking Driller’s Websites

- Incomplete

  • Proposed chemical disclosure rules for federal lands
        • Castigated by critics as incomplete and ineffective; has gone through several revisions, each providing less stringent disclosure rules
    • Close the Halliburton loophole
    • Languishing in committee, unlikely to be passed