Registry launched to identify 'fracking' chemicals
BY Associated Press
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
4/12/11 at 8:29 AM
NEW YORK - Two state groups have launched a registry for chemicals used in extracting natural gas through hydraulic fracturing.
The on-line registry announced Monday makes it easier for the public to find out what chemicals are being used to extract natural gas in nearby wells. But participating drillers will continue to withhold information about chemicals they consider proprietary.
The two state coalitions behind the registry, the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, are hoping to block federal oversight and keep regulatory authority at the state level.
Drillers have used a process known as "fracking" to unlock vast reserves of natural gas trapped in formations underneath several states.
The process involves the high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals to break up rock and release the natural gas.
Drillers disclose the contents of the fluids used at each well, except for the chemicals they consider to be trade secrets, on what is known as a Material Safety Data Sheet.
Twenty-four drillers have volunteered to also post that data on the registry, called FracFocus.org, so the public can find information about the chemicals used in nearby wells. The chemicals in the fluid are adjusted based on the geology of the formation.
The fluids used in the process were exempted from federal oversight by a 2005 law. There are proposals in congress to give the Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate the fluids and require drillers to disclose all of the chemicals used.
The EPA is conducting a study of the process. Initial results are expected to be released by the end of 2012.
The registry received funding from the Department of Energy.
Original Print Headline: Registry launched to ID 'fracking' fluids