Montana Joins Pennsylvania In Requiring Fracking Disclosure – But Environmental Groups Aren't Happy

  • Scott Detrow

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A water withdrawal pool in Bradford County


Montana recently joined Pennsylvania as one of six states requiring energy companies to disclose which chemicals they’re using during the hydraulic fracturing process.
Like every other state, Montana allows drillers to keep some of those chemicals private, by designating them as“trade secrets.” This has environmental groups annoyed, as Platts reports:

“We are not satisfied. We’re definitely happy that the state is finally getting around to doing this, but the current regulations are fairly deficient,” Derf Johnson, program assistant at the Montana Environmental Information Center, said Tuesday of the regulations that went into effect for oil and gas wells on state and private land in the state on August 26.

Under the new rules from the Montana Oil and Gas Board, producers can disclose the chemicals used in fracking fluid either to the board or to a national fracturing fluid disclosure database maintained by FracFocus.org.
In setting the rules, Montana became the sixth energy-producing state to require some degree of frack fluid chemical disclosure by energy producers.
However, Johnson said the Montana requirements fall short of the environmental protections that his group would have liked to see. He said that an unsuccessful bill, which the MEIC and the Northern Plains Resource Council had lobbied for in the recent 2011 session of the state legislature, would have contained stronger safeguards to protect groundwater resources than the current rules.

Different states have different standards for what is and isn’t a trade secret, as StateImpact reported in August. Some states, like Arkansas, leave that decision up to regulators. Others – and Pennsylvania is in this group – simply take the drillers’ word on what chemicals are considered proprietary information.

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