EARTHblog » Aaron Mintzes
September 1, 2011
A couple days ago, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) issued its proposed new rules purporting to regulate the disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project is closely monitoring state and federal efforts to reveal the hazardous ingredients contained in fracking fluids.
The Texas rules are terrible. Let me list the ways:
- covered chemicals
- trade secret loophole.
To begin, these rules have only prospective application. Just last year, the RRC issued 15,466 permits of which 85% use hydraulic fracturing. This means that the roughly 13,000 wells permitted in 2010 do not have to disclose anything. Next, the industry only need disclose chemicals initially and intentionally placed in the fracking fluid. This absolves them from any additional toxic substances absorbed in to the fracking fluid as it travels underground or gets swept up in the flowback. Part of our concern is not just what Halliburton wants to put in the fracking fluid, but how those chemicals react with the hazardous or radioactive elements already in the ground that are disturbed by these high pressure injections.
August 26, 2011
Last week I had the great pleasure of attending a screening of Josh Fox s Oscar nominated documentary Gasland . The film describes the public health problems associated with the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing or fracking and contains powerful images of the spontaneous combustion of household tap water.
The words natural gas belies the hazardous process used to procure it. In fracking, toxic chemicals are injected in to the ground designed to break apart the geological formations and release the gas within. The oil and gas industry is the only industry in America that can inject hazardous materials in to underground drinking water supplies. This is because they benefit from the Halliburton loophole created by former Vice President Cheney s energy task force that exempts fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
A number of states have passed disclosure laws requiring these companies to report which chemicals they use. Wyoming, the first state to require disclosure, appears now to be bowing to industry s desire to keep 146 fracking chemicals secret citing their proprietary interests. According to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, regulators have granted disclosure exemptions to 11 different companies that frack in Wyoming.