On June 9, 2009, democratic members of the US Congress introduced bills “To repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Water Drinking Act, and for other purposes,” dubbed the FRAC Act.

This very short bit of legislation proposes to change sections of the Safe Water Drinking Act (42 U.S.C. 300) regarding underground injection, disclosures of chemical constituents, and mandating immediate disclosure in case of emergency.

Using THOMAS, the database and search engine introduced by the US Library of Congress in January 1995, it’s fairly easy to follow the status of all federal legislation.

In the US House of Representatives, Rep. Diana DeGetter of Colorado sponsored H.R. Bill 2766, “Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2009,” joined by 35 co-sponsors. It was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

In the Senate, Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania sponsored S. Bill 1215, similarly worded, joined by five cosponsors. It was referred to Senate committee, read twice, and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The proposed additional terminology for Underground Injection includes: (A) IN GENERAL.--The term `underground injection' means the subsurface emplacement of fluids by well injection. (B) INCLUSION.--The term `underground injection' includes the underground injection of fluids or propping agents pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations relating to oil or gas production activities. (C) EXCLUSION.--The term `underground injection' does not include the underground injection of natural gas for the purpose of storage.''.

Proposed new requirements for disclosure of chemical constituents include making the information available to the public, “including by posting the information on an appropriate Internet website.”

Despite their brevity, the bills have now languished in Congress for 5 months.