The following is a list of exemptions that the oil and gas industry enjoys. These allow hydraulic fracturing, a process that's been proven dangerous, to proceed despite federal law that is supposed to protect health and safety. NOTE: These loopholes are much more powerful if you look at them using the links! Most are buried within the United States Code, so you'll have to do some scrolling.
Exemption: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 added a loophole to the SDWA that exempts hydraulic fracturing from the EPA's definition of underground injection. Because the EPA's regulatory power is limited by this definition, the EPA cannot regulate hydraulic fracturing. Significance: EPA is unable to impose fines on companies that engage in hydraulic fracturing if and when drinking water is contaminated.
Exemption: The first loophole exempts stormwater runoff from oil and gas construction and transmission from Clean Water Act litigation and regulation. The second expands the definition of construction and transmission to include any oil and gas process. Significance: EPA is unable to regulate potentially dangerous stormwater runoff from hydraulic fracturing facilities.
Exemption: The Clean Air Act requires large polluters to install cleaning devices, but also requires smaller polluters to do the same via an aggregate of smaller facilities. This exemption categorizes oil and gas facilities smaller than a major source, such that they are not treated in aggregate. Significance: Smaller polluters, like hydraulic fracturing pads, do not have to install cleaners or scrubbing devices, even though they release (together) large amounts of toxic gases in regular "burn-offs".
4. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act Loophole at 42 USC 9601 (14), scroll down to definition(14), loophole is exemption under (F)
Exemption: This act created the Superfund, which is a trust funded by taxes on several industries. The Superfund pays to clean up hazardous waste sites. But this loophole exempts the oil and gas industry from paying the tax or being held liable for spills. Significance: There is no incentive for companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing to try to be clean, because they're not held liable for spills and don't have to pay to clean them up.
5. Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act Loophole at 40 CFR 372.23, "Major Group 13: Oil and Gas Extraction" is excluded
Exemption: 40 CFR is the list of chemicals that the EPA must have on file, or in other words, the chemicals that must be disclosed to the public. Major Group 13, which is for oil and gas industry chemicals, is not included. Significance: Companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing do not have to disclose chemicals used in the process.
6. National Environmental Policy Act Loophole at 42 USC 15942, section(a) is the exemption for BLM lands, section(b) is specific activities
Exemption: The Bureau of Land Management manages lands owned by the federal government. For long term activities on federally owned lands, companies must report an Environmental Impact Statement, which evaluates the risk of the activity to the environment. This exemption exempts oil and gas activities from this burden. Significance: Companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing do not have to conduct an EIS, so they can drill on federal lands without fear of litigation.