Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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

The Earth's atmosphere. NASA

By Jeremy Deaton

You may have heard about the hole in the ozone layer, which hovers over Antarctica. It has shrunk over time thanks to policies that curbed the use of ozone-depleting chemicals. In the nearly 40 years that NASA has kept track, it has never been smaller. That's the good news.

Read More Show Less
Garden interns learn plant and weed identification at the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Cheyenne River Youth Project / Facebook

By Stephanie Woodard

Many Americans are now experiencing an erratic food supply for the first time. Among COVID-19's disruptions are bare supermarket shelves and items available yesterday but nowhere to be found today. As you seek ways to replace them, you can look to Native gardens for ideas and inspiration.

Read More Show Less
Although considered safe overall, aloe vera does carry the risk of making some skin rashes worse. serezniy / Getty Images

By Kristeen Cherney

Skin inflammation, which includes swelling and redness, occurs as an immune system reaction. While redness and swelling can develop for a variety of reasons, rashes and burns are perhaps the most common symptoms. More severe skin inflammation can require medications, but sometimes mild rashes may be aided with home remedies like aloe vera.

Read More Show Less
There are plenty of things you can do every day to help reduce greenhouse gases and your carbon footprint to make a less harmful impact on the environment. ipopba / Getty Images

By Katie Lambert and Sarah Gleim

The United Nations suggests that climate change is not just the defining issue of our time, but we are also at a defining moment in history. Weather patterns are changing and will threaten food production, and sea levels are rising and could cause catastrophic flooding across the globe. Countries must make drastic actions to avoid a future with irreversible damage to major ecosystems and planetary climate.

Read More Show Less
Petri Oeschger / Moment / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Sleep is one of the pillars of optimal health.

Read More Show Less

Junjira Konsang / Pixabay

By Matt Casale

For many Americans across the country, staying home to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) means adapting to long-term telework for the first time. We're doing a lot more video conferencing and working out all the kinks that come along with it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Looking south from New York City's Central Park. Ajay Suresh / Wikipedia / CC BY 4.0

By Richard leBrasseur

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered humans' relationship with natural landscapes in ways that may be long-lasting. One of its most direct effects on people's daily lives is reduced access to public parks.

Read More Show Less