The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Colorado Sets the Bar on Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Disclosure
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) praised the state of Colorado Dec. 13 for adopting a fracturing fluid chemical disclosure policy that, in many ways, can serve as a model for the nation.
“The public expects and deserves full transparency from the oil and gas industry,” said EDF President Fred Krupp. “Today, Colorado has taken a critical step toward building the public trust.”
The Colorado rule builds on the experience of Wyoming, Arkansas, Texas and Montana—and makes important strides in requiring companies to disclose chemical information in ways that are useful and user-friendly. The Colorado rule requires companies to disclose chemical information on a database that allows the public to search and sort information by company, chemical, geographic area and other criteria.
“Moving to a searchable database format will allow land owners, neighbors, regulators and policymakers to focus their questions and their research about hydraulic fracturing operations. This is a big step forward, and possibly Colorado’s most important contribution to disclosure efforts in states across the nation,” Krupp said.
Colorado also set a national standard by requiring disclosure of the identities and concentrations of all chemicals, not just those that have been determined to be hazardous in occupational settings under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
According to industry testimony before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), at least half of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing don’t fall under these OSHA regulations. “The OSHA regulations have to do with workplace safety. They don’t tell you anything about whether a chemical might be dangerous to human health if released through environmental pathways. Disclosing identities and chemical concentrations for all chemicals, not just for a limited subset, is the first step toward better understanding the toxicity and potential impacts of these fluids,” Krupp said.
Finally, the Colorado rule takes a reasonable approach to trade secrets. EDF recognizes that protecting legitimate trade secrets can foster innovation—in this case, hopefully incentivizing industry to develop less-toxic alternatives for fracturing fluids. However, EDF also believes citizens should have a broad right to challenge trade secret claims.
“You need to have meaningful policing mechanisms in place to ensure trade secret claims are on the up and up,” said Krupp.
The Colorado rule puts an important protection in place by requiring that companies submit a substantiation form to the COGCC when they make trade secret claims.
For more information, click here.
Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Click here for EDF's Twitter feed; click here for EDF's Facebook page; and click here for EDF's blog.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The annual Arctic thaw has kicked off with record-setting ice melt and sea ice loss that is several weeks ahead of schedule, scientists said, as the New York Times reported.
'This Should Scare the Hell Out of You': Photo of Greenland Sled Dog Teams Walking on Melted Water Goes Viral
By Jon Queally
In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.
By Tia Schwab
It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.
'Huge Victory' for Grassroots Climate Campaigners as NY Lawmakers Reach Deal on Sweeping Climate Legislation
By Julia Conley
Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.
Tens of Thousands Flee Extreme Heatwave in India as Temperatures Topping 120°F Kill Dozens Across Country
By Julia Conley
Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.
By Will J. Grant
In an ideal world, people would look at issues with a clear focus only on the facts. But in the real world, we know that doesn't happen often.
People often look at issues through the prism of their own particular political identity — and have probably always done so.