After you frack, tell us what you used; banned in Vermont; can frack fluid migrate?
May 9, 2012 —
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government has proposed a new rule related to hydraulic fracturing that would require the disclosure of the ingredients of fracking fluids used on public and Indian lands. The rule has raised criticism from some because the disclosure would come after the fracking has already taken place.
The rule was disclosed by U.S Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on May 4, who said, “As we continue to offer millions of acres of America’s public lands for oil and gas development, it is critical that the public have full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place.”
Not everyone has full confidence. Congressman Maurice Hinchey released a statement saying he was “pleased” that the administration of President Barack Obama is taking a step in the right direction requiring drilling companies to “disclose the chemicals they are pumping into the ground,” but the rule doesn’t go far enough.
He said, “If we are truly serious about ensuring the public is well-informed about the hydraulic drilling process—and we need to be—then the American people deserve to know what chemicals gas companies are going to use before they commence drilling. Knowing after the fact is nice, but does not allow for any steps to be taken if the chemicals being used are of concern to the public.”
Congresswoman Diana DeGette, who, with Hinchey, has been a vocal critic of the manner by which hydraulic fracturing has been practiced to date, issued a release that said requiring disclosure after the fracking has already occurred is like “closing the door after the horse has left the barn.”
On a conference call on the rule, Salazar said that requiring disclosure of the ingredients of the fracking fluid before it was used would have resulted in unnecessary delays.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, wells on public and Indian lands account for about five percent of the wells drilled in the past 10 years.
Can fracking fluid migrate up to ground water?
Meanwhile, the debate about whether fracking fluids can migrate vertically into ground water continues. A report commissioned by Catskill Mountainkeeper on the subject received a significant amount of media attention last week.