33 Wm. & Mary Envtl. L. & Pol'y Rev. 605 (2008-2009)
The Not-So-Safe Drinking Water Act: Why We Must Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing at the Federal Level

handle is hein.journals/wmelpr33 and id is 609 raw text is: THE NOT-SO-SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT: WHY WE
MUST REGULATE HYDRAULIC FRACTURING AT THE
FEDERAL LEVEL
ANGELA C. CUPAS*
INTRODUCTION
When Congress enacted the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, it
gave the Environmental Protection Agency the power to set national stan-
dards governing the maximum acceptable levels of water-contaminates in
public water systems.' Section 300f of the Safe Drinking Water Act man-
dates regulation of any contaminant that may adversely affect human
health, in the judgment of the Administrator.2 The Safe Drinking Water
Act also authorizes states to create specific regulations to protect their
underground drinking water sources, as long as each state complies with
the EPA's minimum requirements and receives EPA approval.3 The Safe
Drinking Water Act requires that any state wishing to create its own regu-
latory regime must incorporate a plan to regulate industrial underground
extraction processes known as underground injection control programs.4
Most industrial extraction processes involve the injection of propping
agents, such as sand, water, nitrogen, and diesel fuel into underground
gas or oil reservoirs. These agents are used to pry open gaps in under-
ground reservoirs to allow the fluids to flow toward the collection and
production chambers quickly and efficiently.5
* J.D., William & Mary School of Law, 2009. B.S.B.A. University of Richmond, 2006.
Thanks to my family and friends for all their support.
' Safe Drinking Water Act, Pub. L. No. 93-523 §2(a), 88 Stat. 1660 (1974) (codified as
amended at 42 U.S.C. § 300f et seq. (2000)).
2 42 U.S.C. § 300f (2000).
'See 42 U.S.C. § 300h-1 (2000); 42 U.S.C. § 300g-2 (2000).
4 42 U.S.C. § 300h-1(b) (2000). See also Nicholas A. Robinson, Environmental Controls:
Drinking Water Regulation, 10 REAL PROP. PROB. & TR. J. 675, 678 (1975) (noting that
states are given primary enforcement authority to regulate underground drinking water
safety standards only after they have adopted regulations and enforcement programs
that are at least as strict as the federal standards).
5 U.S. ENvTL. PROT. AGENCY, EVALUATION OF IMPACTS TO UNDERGROUND SOURCES OF
DRINKING WATER BY HYDRAULIC FRACTURING OF COALBED METHANE RESERVOIRS, ES-4,
ES-12 (2004), available at http'J/www.epa.gov/OGWDW/uiclwellscoalbedmethanestudy

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