Quantcast

Fracking Chemicals Used in Texas Kept Secret 19,000 Times in First Eight Months of this Year

Energy

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Matthew McFeeley

Fracking on public lands in Wyoming. Photo credit Linda F. Baker, Upper Green River Alliance

The evidence keeps piling up regarding the inadequacy of state fracking disclosure laws when it comes to ensuring transparency. A recent article from Bloomberg News finds that in many states with regulations requiring disclosure of fracking chemicals, companies can evade the requirement for transparency by unilaterally declaring that a chemical is a proprietary “trade secret.” 

In Texas companies claimed that chemicals used in fracking were a secret 19,000 times—and that was just in the first eight months of the year. On average, five chemical ingredients were withheld in each well. The Bloomberg article also notes that companies didn’t provide the required information for about another 5,000 chemicals—in these cases it’s not even clear whether companies claimed the ingredients were secret, or if they just couldn’t be bothered to comply with the law. 

Disclosure rules only serve their purpose if they are vigorously enforced and there are strong controls on what can be kept secret. Community members and those with water wells near fracking have a right to know what chemicals are being used and to test for these chemicals both before and after fracking occurs. But most states allow companies free reign to decide that a chemical is secret. An NRDC analysis released in July found that only two states out of 29 with fracking, require that companies provide factual justification to claim that a chemical is a trade secret. And many state regulatory agencies do not have the resources to ensure that the industry is following the rules on the books.

With states unable or unwilling to ensure transparency, there is a clear role for federal disclosure rules. As we’ve blogged about before, the current proposal by the Bureau of Land Management would require some disclosure of chemicals for fracking that takes place on federal, Indian and private lands where there are federal oil and gas leases. But the proposed rule is not strong enough.  EcoWatch has a new online petition up, asking the BLM to strengthen the current proposal and to eliminate the exemptions for trade secrets.

Add your voice to this petition to ensure that the public gets the full story about the chemicals being used by the fracking industry.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


mevans / E+ / Getty Images

The federal agency that manages the Great Barrier Reef issued an unprecedented statement that broke ranks with Australia's conservative government and called for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less

A powerful earthquake struck near Athens, Greece and shook the capital city for 15 seconds on Friday, causing people to run into the streets to escape the threat of falling buildings, NBC News reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
U.S. government scientists concluded in a new report that last month was the hottest June on record. Angelo Juan Ramos / Flickr

By Jessica Corbett

As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded — bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less
Rod Waddington / CC BY-SA 2.0

By John R. Platt

For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.

Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pixnio

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Many types of flour are commonly available on the shelves of your local supermarket.

Read More Show Less
A visitor views a digital representation of the human genome at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Mario Tama / Getty Images

Genetics are significantly more responsible for driving autism spectrum disorders than maternal factors or environmental factors such as vaccines and chemicals, according to a massive new study involving more than 2 million people from five different countries.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Emilie Karrick Surrusco

Across the globe, extreme weather is becoming the new normal.

Read More Show Less