EARTHWORKS

TELL THE NEW MEXICO OIL CONSERVATION COMMISSION: You want full and PUBLIC disclosure of chemicals used in fracking!

Gwen Lachelt's avatar
By Gwen Lachelt

November 12, 2011

Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project ACTION ALERT

WHAT:

Next week the New Mexico OCC will consider adopting a new rule requiring the oil and gas industry to disclose the fluids used in hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") operations.

Industry has proposed a very weak rule.

We have proposed a rule that would make New Mexico's disclosure one of the best in the nation.

PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN THIS HEARING and urge the OCC to adopt a strong rule!

WHEN:

Thursday, November 17, 2011
9:00 a.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m.

It is anticipated that public comment will be taken before lunch and at the end of the day. Lunch breaks and closing times vary widely so plan to come early.

If possible, plan to participate in the entire hearing. It is possible the hearing will last two days.

WHERE:

1220 South St. Francis Drive - Porter Hall
Wendell Chino Building
Santa Fe, New Mexico

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  1. Participate in the hearing and provide oral testimony during the public comment period.
  2. If you cannot attend the hearing, send a letter to the OCC before November 17.
    Address your letter to:
    Jami Bailey, Chairperson
    New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission
    1220 South St. Francis Drive
    Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
    or
    email Florene Davidson: florene.davidson@state.nm.us
    and
    Please copy us so we know how many people send letters:
    email - gwen@earthworksaction.org.org
    postal mail - OGAP; P.O. Box 22003; Albuquerque, New Mexico 87154.

BACKGROUND AND TALKING POINTS:
Fracking is the high-pressure injection of enormous amounts of water, sand and chemicals into underground oil and gas formations to force the production of oil and gas.

Fracking has been used since the 1940s throughout the United States and around the world. Currently, 95% of all oil and gas wells are fracked. Most oil and gas wells are fracked several times over the life of the well.

In 2005 Congress voted to exempt fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act, which means that the practice is largely unregulated and companies do not have to disclose the chemicals they use.

States do have the authority to require disclosure. Colorado, Michigan, Texas and Wyoming have, or are in the process of, developing such rules. Pennsylvania asks companies to voluntarily disclose the content of fracking fluids.

New Mexico has tens of thousands of oil and gas wells that have been fracked and will be re-fracked in the future. New Mexico stands to have oil and gas development and new drilling for decades to come. Many wells are drilled near people's homes, ranches, in neighborhoods and on native and public lands. New Mexicans deserve to know what chemicals are being injected in the oil and gas wells near their homes and trucked through their neighborhoods and ranches. 

The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association has proposed a weak rule that only requires companies to disclose about half of the contents of fracking fluids, 45 days after a fracking operation, to the FracFocus website.

Read our EARTHblog post discussing FracFocus's shortcomings.

Earthworks' OGAP has proposed that companies be required to:

  1. Notify landowners prior to a fracking operation and that companies be required to disclose all fluids and substances to be used in hydraulic fracturing operations to the surface owner before hydraulic fracturing begins;
  2. Disclose the type and volume of base fluids used in hydraulic fracturing, each additive used, the chemical ingredients in the additives, the additives' associated chemical abstracts service (CAS) registry numbers, and the actual or maximum concentration of each chemical ingredient used in hydraulic fracturing; and,
  3. Report the required information to the FracFocus website or to the successor of that website so that the relevant information will be available even if the FracFocus website is no longer operative.

Tagged with: regulation, new mexico, disclosure

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