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Talking Points

Talking Points

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Published by Jessica Helm

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Published by: Jessica Helm on Feb 07, 2012
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02/07/2012

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Talking points for lobby meetings on the clean air rules for the oiland gas industry
How to set up a meetingCall the district office to schedule a meeting. The Representatives’ websitesgenerally has the location and phone number of the district offices. Let thestaff person know that you live in the district, you’re representing the SierraClub, that we support the Representative’s efforts to improve environmentalcontrols on hydraulic fracturing, and that you’d like to meet with him/her todiscuss steps related to fracking that the EPA is taking now. Be prepared tomeet with a staff person in the district office rather than the Member. The meeting itself (In general: It would be best not to read talking points verbatim. Considerdividing these points up among your small group so that people are familiarwith the material in advance of the meeting. Feel free to put these points inyour own words. Every meeting will progress a little differently, and it’simportant to be flexible and responsive to the staff person you meet with.Don’t expect lengthy discussions; it’s likely that you will be in and out in ahalf-hour.)Introduce yourselves and let the office know that we’re concerned about theenvironmental problems associated with hydraulic fracturing – bringing upsome recent local information or examples would be good -- and howappreciative we are that the Member supports the FRAC Act/BREATHE Act.Unfortunately, because of Congressional gridlock and oil and gas industryopposition, we recognize that legislation to improve environmentalprotection over fracking will need to gain more support before passing. Weare here asking you to support some proposed EPA rules because we needprotections in place now, but we'd first like to ask your office's advice abouthow we and other volunteers across the country can best help to buildsupport for fracking legislation. Are there offices you think might bereceptive to sponsoring the Frac Act, or do you have other ideas for how wemight help?However, even without Congressional action, the EPA is taking a variety of administrative actions to control pollution from fracking. Most immediately,the EPA is supposed to finalize new air pollution regulations by the end of February. The industry emits significant quantities of pollutants, including smog-forming chemicals, hazardous air pollutants such as benzene, and methane,a potent greenhouse gas. These pollutants contribute to serious health
 
problems such as asthma attacks, cancer, hospital visits and prematuredeath. These new rules would represent a major step toward reducing air pollutioncaused by hydraulic facturing. Most of the new gas wells use hydraulicfracturing, which is responsible for some of the largest air emissions in the oiland gas industry, according to the EPA. More than 25,000 wells arefractured or re-fractured each year.When fully implemented, these rules would cause significant air pollutionreductions, including:
540,000 tons of smog-forming chemicals, an industry-wide reduction of 25 percent;
38,000 tons of toxic air pollutants, an industry-wide reduction of almost30 percent, and;
3.4 million tons of methane, an industry-wide reduction of about 26percent.Because oil and gas companies would achieve these reductions largely bycapturing emissions before they escape, they can both reduce waste andpollution. In fact, the EPA estimates that because the value of capturedproduct exceeds the cost of compliance, the proposed rule would yield a netannual savings of almost $30 million.Even though it would save the industry money, the oil and gas industrygroups oppose these rules and want to delay and weaken them. We supportthe EPA’s proposed rules, but we’re concerned that the final rules may notbe as strong because of this industry opposition.It would be very helpful for Representative ___ to write a letter to EPAAdministrator Jackson to express support for the strong rules that the agencyhas proposed. If it would be helpful, we’d like to give you this factsheet onthe proposed rule and a template for a letter to the agency that you coulduse as you see fit.Is there any more information that we could provide? Do you think thatRepresentative ___ would be willing to write a letter in support of theserules?(Generally staff people are not able to give a definitive answer – they have tocheck in with the Member of Congress.) Ask if it’s ok to follow up withhim/her in a week or so? If the staff person says that he/she will refer this to

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