New legislation is coming out from state governments which would require natural gas companies that use hydraulic fracturing to disclose the list of chemicals used in the fracking fluid. Surprisingly, Texas is the first state government to pioneer such legislation.
Sounds great right? Well, here’s the catch-
The majority of these statewide proposals include an exception stating that the company does not have to disclose the list of chemicals if it would threaten trade secrets. That’s the same excuse Halliburton gave the US EPA in response to the Federal request for disclosure! Although, it appears that that request has still gone unanswered, Halliburton has since released the ingredients of its new Eco-Friendly Fracking Fluid that uses chemicals “sourced entirely from the food industry.”
Both, this “Eco-Friendly Fracking Fluid” and this new legislation are poised to appear as a progressive step in the right direction – for public safety and corporate responsibility. This is exactly what the energy companies and their allied public officials need: to undermine the public health and environmental activists by confusing their support base.
The reality of this touted legislation is that it is no more than a public relations move for the energy companies, the big oil congress members and even the EPA. This legislation will do nothing to protect the health of the countless residents living near fracking operations and yet more and more states continue to introduce similar legislation. Coincidentally, all of this coincides with a push from big oil companies to keep fracking unregulated by the Federal Government and to allow States to develop their own regulatory legislation.
The real progressive step here is to close all loopholes and exceptions for hydraulic fracturing. Residents living amongst natural gas wells and fracking have the right to know what chemicals are being pumped into the ground beneath their property. These neighbors need to know what the risks are and need to know how to maximize their safety. And don’t forget about the original fracking loopholes in the Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. These Acts have been respected for decades as safeguards to public health, and the natural gas companies need to be held to the same regulatory standard as other companies.
The time for fracking excuses is over. The time for meaningful, evenly applied legislation is now.