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Texas Advances Its Fracking Disclosure Rules

Scott Detrow / StateImpactPA

A Bradford County drilling rig

It’s been a big week for state-level fracking disclosure. The same day Colorado approved a new regulation requiring energy companies to disclose chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, Texas’ Railroad Commission finalized the Lone Star State’s new guidelines.

Earlier this year, Texas became the first state to pass a law requiring drillers to provide a list of chemicals used during fracking. (The six other states with similar mandates put theirs in place through the regulatory process.) The legislature left it to the Railroad Commission, which regulates energy issues, to fill in the details.

Our partners at StateImpact Texas report:

The Railroad Commission of Texas, which oversees drilling in the state, passed new rules requiring the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) today. The rules were proposed by the state legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Governor Rick Perry this summer. Companies will have to disclose on the website FracFocus what chemicals they use for fracking in Texas.

Any wells that have an initial drilling permit from February 1, 2012 on will have to make the disclosure. The commission notes in a release that “before the rule passed, Texas operators conducting hydraulic fracturing were voluntarily entering chemical data into the public website FracFocus for about half of all wells in Texas undergoing hydraulic fracturing,” the commission said in a statement.

Pennsylvania requires companies to provide the Department of Environmental Protection with well-specific chemical lists, but the information is kept private, and can only be released through the Right-To-Know process. Both impact fees in front of the General Assembly would overhaul this system, and create a public website listing each well’s chemicals.

Beginning next month, companies who are members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition will voluntarily list their chemicals at FracFocus.org, which has become a national clearinghouse for fracking chemical information.

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