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

Pixabay

By Claire L. Jarvis

A ruckus over biofuels has been brewing in Iowa.

Read More Show Less
Serena and Venus Williams have been known to follow a vegan diet. Edwin Martinez / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Whitney E. Akers

  • "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.

  • Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.

  • We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.

Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
An illegally trafficked tiger skull and pelt. Ryan Moehring / USFWS

By John R. Platt

When it comes to solving problems related to wildlife trade, there are an awful lot of "sticky widgets."

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be both good and bad.

On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Dan Nosowitz

It's no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the American farming industry.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less